8 STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE TO IMPROVE MOBILE APP SECURITY - Startxlabs | Web Development | App Development | Digital Solution


5 Sep 2022

From Mobile Phones to Mobile Apps


Undoubtedly, mobile phones play an enormous role in our daily lives and activities. This is because mobile phones are undergoing a significant shift and are no longer simply just a standard means of communication they once were. Thanks to all of the wonderful features and opportunities that mobile phones provide, it has grown to be the center of attention for both consumers and organizations. Mobile computing has reached an entirely new level because of the combined advancements in mobile technology, high-speed internet accessibility, and the impressive communicative interface of these gadgets. 

Mobile applications are the primary reason why smartphones have evolved over the previous few decades into a basic necessity for everyone’s lives. These applications have proved to be lifesavers for consumers, be it for financial transactions, booking tickets, online shopping, online lectures, checking emails, banking, matrimony, or whatnot. Typically, mobile programs can be downloaded from online app stores like the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Windows Store. 

Do you know that despite the fact that mobile apps are becoming more and more popular, their security is deteriorating as a result of the rise in security risks for mobile apps? Therefore, a large number of hackers are waiting for an opportunity to steal crucial customer data including bank and credit card information. A report claims that over 56% of the top paid iOS apps have been compromised, and the top 100 paid Android apps on Google Play Store have also been breached.

The majority of users engage with the internet through mobile applications, which are gradually overtaking desktop computers, as the most common method of accessing the internet globally. But since we depend so heavily on our smartphones, a security compromise might have catastrophic consequences for the user. Hence, It becomes a responsible duty of the app developer to ensure that consumers engage with their app in the safest and most secure manner possible. 

Mobile App Security


Mobile app security is the technique of safeguarding high-value mobile apps and your online identity from fraudulent attempts of all stripes. These threats include malware, keyloggers, tampering, reverse engineering, and other forms of interference. Mobile app security is thus equally critical in today’s world as threats to mobile app security breaches not only offer hackers access to the user’s personal life in real-time, but also reveal data like the user’s current position, financial information, and other banking and personal details. It provides safety against malware, phishing, and other undesirable hacking crimes that an application on a mobile device has. 

It is possible to protect your mobile application from such security dangers with the appropriate combination of tactics. All of the most important methods for accomplishing this have been covered in the sections that follow. The following advice will help you ensure that your app complies with modern cyber security standards.


1.Secure Your Code 


Coding is where the process of securing your mobile app begins. Developers should try to encrypt the source code of their application since it provides a single point of vulnerability for the program’s defenses. After that, be careful to run your code through quality assurance to check for any security holes you may have overlooked.


2. Only use upgraded libraries


Libraries are one of the frequently used objects that are vulnerable to assaults. The length of your code directly relates to the danger. Utilize the most recent versions of libraries with all available updates and modifications while developing your mobile application to prevent security flaws. This holds true whether the code is proprietary, open-source, or a hybrid of the two.


3. Use API with caution


With the help of an application programming interface(API), the mobile applications can communicate with one another.  It is essential to secure the APIs because they are susceptible to hacker assaults. The use of permitted APIs in the application code is one way to prevent such dangers. Every application needs an API key in order to interact with or modify the platform you are working on. Developers should take another step to increase security by embedding an API gateway.


4.) Constant Testing


Testing must be taken into account at every stage of developing your software. Never put off testing your app at any level of development, regardless of time or financial restrictions, to prevent problems from building up throughout the course of development. Be brutal while doing your testing; they should reflect an actual hacker’s efforts to get around your security and exploit any openings that exist. Common weak points such as the point of entry, data transmission, data storage, data leakage, authentication, and server-side controls should be on your list.


5. Fix all the possible leaks 


The fact that most data leaks aren’t discovered until it’s too late makes them one of the most frequent causes of a security breach in mobile apps. Nothing is more crucial when it comes to protecting user data than stopping leaks. There isn’t a simple remedy for this; you just need to be very careful about tokenizing and encrypting all critical data. Additionally, notify the users right away if there is a breach so they may take appropriate action.


6. Encourage stronger authentication


Clearly, password leaks are the most common cause of security breaches. Pushing your users to create secure passwords and encouraging them to change them for each account can help you prevent the majority of assaults. In this case, user education is especially crucial. Inform and educate your users as much as you can.


7. Make your network connections secure


Network connections are an important topic to discuss while discussing mobile application security. Cloud servers and servers that are accessed through APIs should be protected to prevent unwanted access. For this reason, you can engage a variety of penetration testers on a freelance basis. The qualified experts in this field find the flaws and provide methods to fix them. It is advisable to encrypt the database using SSL (secure sockets layer), TLS (transport layer security (TLS), or VPN to provide extra security levels (a virtual private network).


8. Put Access Policies in Place


The creation of mobile applications has to be in line with the organization’s IT administrators’ corporate regulations. The same goes for the App Stores, such as the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, where it will be featured. In a similar manner, your application’s attack surface may be minimized by utilizing safe frameworks.


If you are an app developer and if you use all of the aforementioned techniques, it would be quite difficult for hackers to access your software. The nicest feature of the strategies mentioned above is how quick and simple they are to use. For the finest outcomes, you can also always enlist the assistance of mobile app development businesses and mobile app security specialists.


Before and after installing apps on your smartphone, here are some privacy protection tips for users.


1. Rely only on authorized app stores. 

Download programs only from legitimate app stores, such as the app store provided by the maker of your device or your operating system, to minimize the chance of installing potentially less secure apps. Before installing an app, do some research on the developer.


2. Understand what data the app will have access to. 

Read the privacy statement of an app before downloading it to see how it will use your data and whether it will be shared. Is it unclear how the app will share your data in the policy?Find another app if you are unsure about how the app will use your data.


3. Examine the permissions.

Apps require your permission to access information like your location or contacts, as well as functionality like your camera and microphone. 

Take note of the permissions the software asks for. Does it truly require access to your location or images in order to carry out its duties, if yes permit, if not then you may use another app that doesn’t ask for the same?

These were some tips one can follow before installing an app. Below mentioned are some steps one can follow to ensure privacy if the apps are already installed.


1. Check the app’s permissions.

A number of permissions-requiring applications could be deleted because they often ask for rights which aren’t necessary for them to operate.


2. Limit access to locations. 

The location services on your smartphone are accessible to some apps. Consider restricting an app’s access to your location data so that it is only available when it is actively being used.


3. Don’t use your social network account to automatically log into apps.

Using your social network login credentials to sign in to an app frequently enables the app to access information from your social network account and vice versa. Rather use your email address and a secure password to sign in.


4. Maintain app updates. 

Apps using outdated software might be vulnerable to hacking. By updating your apps as soon as they’re available, you may protect your smartphone against viruses.


5. Delete apps that are of no use to you.

Remove any programs you don’t use. If you aren’t using an app, uninstall it to prevent pointless data collecting.


Author: Akash Upadhyay

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