Hackers got hold of a third-party mobile application that Marriot used to provide guest services in January 2020. They gained access to a whopping 5.2 million records of Marriot guests, and these records included personal contact information, gender, loyalty account details, and personal preferences of all the guests. Marriot is supposed to face severe penalties as the stolen data consists of personally identifiable information.
This isn’t the first case of an app security breach. Giant-sized companies such as Twitter, Cisco, and Microsoft have also faced severe threats through mobile applications. Each mobile device connects to almost 160 unique IP addresses every day. In fact, one-in-four mobile apps run the risk of being breached once while in use. Whether you are designing apps to provide information technology or programming assignment help, there will always be risks associated with the apps. On that note, check out the six highly effective ways you can improve your mobile app security.
1. Encrypt your source code
As per recent reports, more than 12 million mobile devices are infected by malicious codes at any given time on a daily basis. Hackers repackage popular mobile apps into ‘rogue apps’ and publish the latter. They use mobile malware that taps bugs and vulnerabilities within the source and design code of the mobile application. So, anybody using those apps can end up making their data and personal details susceptible to hackers. However, encrypting the source code while designing mobile apps can help you prevent hackers from attacking your apps.
Benefits of source code encryption:
- You can use the app across a variety of devices without having to worry about security threats.
- It could also help you avoid regulatory fines.
- It supports data integrity, thereby making it easier for your clients to make safer business decisions.
2. Protect the network
Once you are done securing the code, it’s time to ensure the security of the mobile app servers. After all, hackers can leverage their servers and gain access to the users’ sensitive information. You have to make sure that the data passed by the client to the database and server is 100% secure. Authorize the APIs on your mobile app serves so that hackers aren’t granted any unauthorized access.
Besides APIs, how can you protect the servers?
- You can use an encrypted connection to boost your network’s security.
- Some developers also connect to a virtual private network for the same purpose.
You can try out containerization if no other options are available to boost the security of your servers. Containerisation lets you create encrypted containers that are best suited for securing your crucial documents and data.
3. Focus on a high-level authentication
The majority of security breaches occur due to weak authentication. Thus, you must always focus on high-level or strong authentication while developing mobile apps. Authentication and strong passwords go hand in hand. The stronger the passwords, the better will be your authentication. So, you may want to design mobile apps that accept only robust and reliable passwords. That is how you can encourage your users to be a bit more careful while setting passwords for your apps.
Other safer authentication methods are:
- Multi-factor authentication– This method requires two or more independent ways to identify a user. Examples include captcha tests or facial recognition.
- Certificate-based authentication– This identifies individuals and users based on their digital certificates. A digital certificate is an electronic document such as a driver’s license or a voter ID.
- Biometric authentication– This process relies on the biological characteristics of an individual.
Cybercriminals tend to improve their strategies. So, you have to think ahead of them so that you have a rebuttal for their attacks. No wonder most companies have started to implement advanced, sophisticated incident response strategies that include authentication as well.
4. Get familiar with platform-specific limitations
This tip is especially beneficial if you intend to build apps for multiple mobile operating systems. In that case, it is better to understand the limitations and security features of the platform and code accordingly. Consider different user case scenarios, password support, encryption support, and geo-location data support for the operating systems. These will help you control and distribute the app securely on your chosen platforms.
Benefits of cross-platform apps are:
- Codes can be reused.
- You don’t have to spend on developing apps for each platform separately.
- Developing these apps is comparatively faster.
Cons of cross-platform apps:
- Though faster, cross-platform apps have poor performance quality.
- Your app would need an update every time the OS is updated.
- Unlike native apps, cross-platform apps need a connection to work on cross platforms.
Cross-platform mobile apps have their equal share of pros and cons. The best thing about hybrid mobile apps is that it lets you write the code once and employ it across a wide variety of platforms such as Android, OS, or Windows.
5. Test your app software at least twice
The main purpose of mobile apps is to cater to the needs of a specific set of audience. Thus, a majority of developers do not test their apps once they go live on the Google Play Store or Apple Store. You MUST test your app before and after it is launched to ensure it has effective functionality and security. Review the app multiple times to ensure the source code of your app is completely secure. You can always fix the problems or loopholes that you may find in your app’s code.
Tips to remember related to the testing of your app:
- Test thoroughly for authorization and authentication, session management, and data security issues.
- You can also use emulators for operating systems, browsers, and devices to see how your app will perform in a simulated environment.
- Practice penetration testing that lets you deliberately probe a network or system for weaknesses.
Besides testing for usability and functionality, you must also test your app for security. Check whether your app is a native, hybrid, or web app. Regular testing will let you see vulnerabilities in the code that you can correct before publishing the app for download and use.
6. Build a hack-proof mobile app architecture
Though the process is time-consuming and daunting, yet it is crucial to building a hack-proof architecture for your mobile apps. It is important because it secures your users’ data and forbids the storage of important data directly on a device. With the increase in mobile apps, there has been a staggering increase in the rate of cybercrimes as well. You can’t afford to lose your customer’s personal information, their trust, and ultimately millions of dollars.
Steps to make your mobile app hack-proof:
- Make sure your libraries are updated.
- Use encrypted web addresses while extracting data.
- Get your security codes reviewed by security professionals.
Using a hack-proof architecture means you can’t store non-essential personally identifiable details about your users in the app. Also, it is even better if you don’t store any credit card or baking details on the device.
I know building a mobile app takes a great deal of time and effort. And it is even more interesting to launch your app for use by your target audience. But you have to keep the security of your users in mind before you go ahead and publish the app. Implement the mentioned steps to bring forth a secure and safer mobile app for your target clients.