7 Best Practices For Better Mobile App Security
We’re all pretty reliant on our Smartphone's, and to a large degree place a lot of trust in them. Today, people even carry out financial transactions on apps on a regular basis. However, this trust can be lifted just as easily as it is gained if your app becomes a source of security breaches and identity thefts. Not to mention the huge dip that your brand’s reputation will take as a result of any security gaps. As a mobile app owner/mobile app developer in Kuwait, it is your primary responsibility to ensure that your app is safe, secure, and fully up-to-date with the latest cyber security practices. And if you’re an entrepreneur in the field of digital development, it is just as important for you to expand your knowledge about current security practices.
But why care so much about app security?
First off, your business may have to incur hefty penalties in the case of a data leak. Failure to comply with any of the legislations surrounding data handling can lead to a considerable loss of time and money. Secondly, you may lose access to the app itself and all the work you invested to put it into effect, significantly setting back your business. Thirdly, malicious hackers, or even your competitors, can use the illegally obtained information against you, use it to blackmail you, or even use it to advance their own business models. Next, there is the irreparable reputational damage. Most people don’t trust companies that are infamous for their security failures, especially those that have access to and handle their personal information. Finally, it can have a negative impact on your Google rankings. Since Google will definitely push you down its results page for not complying with the best safety practices, you will automatically lose visitors and potential customers.
An app that isn’t fully secure, can end up helping hackers:
- Steal stored data and screen lock passwords from the app
- Intercept sensitive information over the airwaves
- Tamper with/copy your app’s code
- Gain access to your business’s intellectual property and other assets
- Steal customer data for identity theft or fraud
Of course, an app is never completely safe from harm. Nevertheless, there are steps that app owners and mobile app development companies in Kuwait can take to minimize harm. We have consolidated some key tips and security practices that you can follow during the development process.
Your first line of defense will be to encrypt your app’s source code. Correct any logic flaws and buffer overflows, run an audit, and maybe even ask your Quality Assurance (QA) department to test for any lingering security gaps. Even minor coding errors and failures can allow hackers to reverse engineer or tamper with your code.
Encryption essentially scrambles your code text, so anyone without the key cannot interpret it. This adds a very important layer of security, because even if someone steals your code, they will not be able to misuse it. Moreover, if your app store’s personal data, encryption will ensure the protection of user information.
Security Checks & Audits
Running a security check before an app is released to the public confirms that the app is risk-free and does not disclose personal user information. In fact, your team should perform these tests even after the app’s launch in order to keep all bugs at bay. Security checks identify issues like data leaks, infrastructure exposure, scams, and phishing attacks. Penetration test or pen tests, which are authorized simulated attacks performed on the system to evaluate its security, can go a long way in eliminating any security risks and loopholes.
Securing the Backend
Along with safeguarding your client-server interface, it’s also important for application developers to have security measures in place that protect your backend servers from cyber attacks. You can do this by using containerization practices to create encrypted storage systems that store data and documents. You can also encrypt data while it is in transmission, traveling back and forth between the users and the system, by using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Virtual Private Network (VPN), or Transport Layer Security (TLS) tunnels.
Internal & Expert Testing
As mentioned before, app testing is a continuous process that should be used to find any security gaps even after the app’s release. This involves internally testing mobile devices. You may choose to hire outside expert mobile app developers in Kuwait too, who can provide an additional perspective and further authenticate the security of your app and assure customers.
When creating your data storage systems, remember that any type of sensitive data shouldn’t be shared with the application log, keyboard cache, any third parties, or with the user’s device during interaction. Your app’s data should only be stored locally, and that too in encrypted containers or keychains. As an extra precaution, you can add an auto-delete feature in your storage system which will automatically delete data after specific periods of time. The system should be regularly re-encrypted with new keys that should not be stored with the data that it protects.
Simple passwords can compromise the security of your app. You can choose to design your app such that it only accepts alphanumeric passwords and requires users to change them periodically. For apps that deal with sensitive financial information (like those used for banking or mobile payments), a multifactor password authentication (OTP + password) improves security. Biometric authentication, fingerprints, and retina scans, also make it really hard for hackers to get through.
Application Program Interfaces (APIs)
APIs are responsible for flowing data between applications, cloud spaces, and users. So, if your app relies on someone else’s API for its functionality, you’re basically relying on their code’s security. In these cases, the best way to minimize threats is by ensuring that your app provides your APIs access to only necessary parts of the app. You can also enable a central OAuth server that can help process user authentication safely.
Security is not just a technical concern. It has the ability to expose your business to legal and reputational risks which can have a severe negative impact on your brand. Of course, no application is 100% secure, but in a world where hackers constantly find innovative ways to break through systems, it’s incredibly important to treat security as a continuous process and train your mobile app developers to follow the best and latest security practices.
At Design Master, one of the leading web and app development companies in Kuwait, we follow industry-standard app security practices and have proper testing strategies in place to ensure the reliability and security of your app. Our highly trained and experienced app developers in Kuwait can help you deliver a safe and trustworthy application to your customers.