We live in a world where the lines separating private and public data is blurring. With access to almost all aspects of data, companies are slowly diving deeper into the consumer’s life, and startling them by showing the products they casually browsed for, everywhere. While the uneasiness related to data is slowly withering away, people are still cautious, and for the right reasons.
Access to data has also led to vulnerabilities within the app. For instance, there are certain types of data that everyone can access. There are some loopholes within the app, which has led to the infiltration of the hackers, and eventually the users are removed from the apps.
The fight for freedom from the app hacking and a smooth entry into security is ongoing. There are several ways in which apps are trying to build the Great Wall, and venturing into a secure base.
Let’s understand what are some of the common issues you are likely to face while using a mobile app with respect to security.
- Data leakage from the app to people who are not concerned with the data or who do not have access to the data. This is completely unintentional, and is a result of vulnerabilities present within the app
- Authentication process is not up to the mark, which results in weak passwords that can be easily hacked
- Cryptography which is not properly handled. This simply means that the encrypted key to your app’s security is located in not so secure locations
Here, we will discuss five such steps that should help you create a more secure version of your enterprise mobile app.
#1 Secure the app’s code from ground up
While planning for app development, the app developer should think security and policies before planning the design and coding practices. When you think security, your whole app will be based on encrypted principles, ensuring quality and reduced vulnerabilities.
Unlike web software solutions, mobile apps store the source code on the client side. This means, the code is vulnerable, and can be seen by anyone and everyone if not properly secured.
The malware designed by hackers eyes this source code, and when they attack the code, a simple change can empty your mobile app of the precious data. The source code should not only be secure, but you need to ensure that all the points in the code are free of errors and bugs.
You can begin with encrypting the code using the API encryption policies. Before you launch the app, test the code perfectly, and check for all sorts of vulnerabilities that may exist.
In case of a breach, the update or patch should be immediately available and easy to implement. When you are implementing security measures, make sure you don’t compromise on the performance of the app.
#2 Secure your network connections along the backend
The app uses the cloud servers as well as the API servers to serve the users with data from the backend. Securing this part of the mobile app is essential as most of the data is stored here. The access should be provided in a manner that unauthorized access can be prevented, and the vulnerabilities can be removed.
It is important to verify and validate the APIs before using them, and make sure that there is proper authentication in place for those who are accessing the APIs.
One of the simplest ways to maintain the security of the backend is containerization. You tend to store the data as well as the documents within secure and encrypted containers.
Assess the vulnerabilities within the app, and conduct a thorough penetration testing to understand if the data is properly protected or not. You can also add a layer of encryption along the database using VPN, SSL and TLS.
#3 Use proper identification, authentication and authorization measures
The right authentication and authorization measures can help the app know who is using the app, and validate them before sharing the information. This helps add a layer of security within the apps along the login process.
In case you are using a third-party API to access some information, make sure you access only those parts that are essential, and with thorough security across the app.
OAuth2 is the norm for managing secure connections within the app. It is essential to install this within the app’s secure layer if you wish to install two-factor authentication. It will help grant permissions only to those who have the right credentials, and are going to use the app for the said purpose.
#4 Implement a proper mobile encryption policy
In the case of mobile apps, the data is stored within the device, which makes the data more vulnerable than it is with a web app. However temporary storage is for the app’s data, you will need to make sure that the data is not vulnerable.
In some cases the data is entered and collected without the consumer’s knowledge, which tends to make it all the more sensitive.
With file encryption, you can have a file-based encryption. As a result, the at-rest data is well encrypted and will not be intercepted.
You can even encrypt mobile databases, which makes local storage safe and secure.
You should have a strong algorithm in place with keys and certifications, which reduce the vulnerability of the apps.
#5 Test the app software properly
After the coding and development, you should test the app for the bugs and errors that can occur within the app. Instead of producing an app for the sake of it, validate the idea and ensure that you have followed the coding practices before releasing it. Follow through all the points required for improved app security.
Conduct penetration testing to understand the vulnerabilities that might exist in the app. You should check the authorization, data security and other issues prevalent in the app. Finally, use emulators to check the performance of the app in the different settings to be sure of the app’s vulnerability and whether or not the data will be secure.
It is important to secure your app before releasing the app to the market. Follow the app store’s guidelines thoroughly, understand what are the possible major app issues and be aware of how the API works before integrating them into your app.
Define the UI and UX while planning, and make sure you have validated the security aspects for the same. Layer your app with secure login, networks and backend.
A secure app will help build trust among the users, thus increasing loyalty.