Have you ever heard about hacking of a mobile app? What does it mean? How do mobile apps get hacked? If you need to know all this, go through below-
Building a revolutionary mobile application is just the initial phase in mobile application development. There are thousands of mandatory processes that follow app development. One of them is the security of mobile apps. Here we will analyze the essential mobile app security practices that you should implement after the completion of development.
In the last few years, we have seen how the mobile application development industry has developed and hence have cybercrimes. These crimes have led us to a stage where it is not possible to submit an app to Play Store or App Store without taking certain measures to secure it. However, getting towards what the safety measures involve, we first need to know why there is a requirement for taking these actions and what are the potential application security issues that plague the mobile application development industry. There is still more to mobile application security than safeguarding them against malware and threats. Let us recognize some of the OWASP mobile application security threats to understand the safety measures better.
You can also know- How Developers Can Enhance Mobile App’s Data Security?
Need Of Mobile App Security: Potential Threats
The threats that present themselves in the application development world are malicious. With the use of basic steps to secure a mobile application, these threats can be solved. Let us explore what are the significant risks to mobile application security.
1. Faulty server controls:
The communications that occur between the application and user outside the mobile phone device happen via servers. Such servers are main targets of hackers all through the world. The main purpose of the vulnerability of a server is sometimes developers ignore the necessary server-side security into account. This may occur because of a lack of knowledge about security considerations for mobile applications, little spending plans for security reasons, or the vulnerabilities caused because of cross-stage development.
This may occur because of an absence of information about security considerations for mobile applications, small budget plans for security purpose, or the vulnerabilities caused because of cross-platform development.
The most important step in protecting your servers is to scan your applications with the help of automated scanners. These scanners can be used by hackers to uncover vulnerabilities in your applications and exploit them. Automated scanners will surface the normal issues and bugs which are easy to solve.
2. The absence of Binary protection:
This is one of the prime OWASP application security issues to address because there is an absence of Binary protection for a mobile application, any hacker or an adversary can easily reverse engineer the application code to introduce malware. They can also redistribute a pirated app of the same and infuse it with threat too. All of this can prompt to critical issues, for example, data theft and harm to brand image and resultantly revenue loss.
To protect Binary files, it is necessary to deploy binary hardening procedures. As a part of this strategy, binary files are analyzed and accordingly modified to protect them against normal mobile application security threats. This technique fixes the legacy code without including the source code at all. It is vital to ensure security coding for the identification of jailbreaks, checksum controls, debugger detection control and certificate pinning while working on mobile application security processes.
3. Data Storage Insecurity:
Another enormous loophole common in Mobile application security is the absence of a safe data storage system. Truth be told, it is common for mobile application developers to depend upon client storage for internal data. During the possession of a mobile device by a rival, this internal data can be effortlessly accessed and used or manipulated. This can prompt a few crimes like theft or PCI (external policy violation).
One of the application safety measures to consider here is to build an extra encryption layer over the OS’s base-level encryption. This gives an enormous lift to data security.
4. Inadequate protection for Transport layer:
The transport layer is the pathway through which data transfer takes place between the client and the server. Any hacker can access internal data to steal or modify it, if the proper mobile application security standards are not introduced. This leads to severe crimes like identity thefts and frauds.
To strengthen transport layer security, you should incorporate SSL Pinning in iOS and Android applications. Alongside this, you can use industry-standard cipher suites rather than regular ones. Moreover, avoiding the exposure of user’s session ID because of mixed SSL sessions, alerting the user in case of an invalid certificate, using SSL versions of third-party analytics are normal practices which can save the users from a hazardous breach of security.
5. Unintended Leakage of data:
Unintended data leakage happens when critical mobile applications are stored in vulnerable locations on the mobile device. For instance, an application is stored where it can get accessed by other applications or devices which ultimately result in the data breach of your application and unauthorized data usage.
Examining common data leakage focuses, such logging, application background, caching, Browser cookie objects and HTML5 data storage. In the wake of seeing the general threats which plague all the mobile applications and some of the Best mobile application security practices to follow for avoiding these issues, let us proceed onward to the particulars about the Android and iOS mobile application security.
How to Make Android Apps Secure?
1. Encryption of data on External Storage –
Generally, device has a limited internal storage limit. This disadvantage usually suppresses users to use external devices, for example, hard disk and flash drives for protecting the data. This data comprises sensitive and confidential data also. Since the data stored on the external storage device is easily accessible by all the applications of the device, it is essential to save the data in an encrypted format. One of the most broadly used encryption algorithms by mobile application developers is AES or Advanced Encryption Standard.
2. Using Internal Storage for Sensitive Data –
All the Android Applications have an internal storage directory. And, the files stored in this directory are more secure because they use MODE_PRIVATE mode for file creation. Basically, this mode ensures that the files of one specific application can’t be accessed by other applications saved on the device. Along these lines, it is one of versatile application verification best practices to center upon. Along these lines, it is one of mobile application authentication best practices to focus.
3. Using HTTPS –
The communications take place between the application and the server should be over HTTPS connection. Various Android Users are connected with several open WiFi networks in public areas and using HTTP rather than HTTPS can leave the device vulnerable against numerous malicious hotspots that can easily modify the contents of HTTP traffic and make the device’s applications behave unexpectedly.
4. Using GCM instead of SMS –
When Google Cloud Messaging or GCM didn’t exist, SMS was used so as to push information from servers to applications however today, GCM is widely used. But, if you have not switch from SMS to GCM, you should. This is because SMS protocol is neither safe nor encrypted. On it, SMS can be accessed and read by some other application on the user device. GCM communications are authenticated by registration tokens which are consistently refreshed on the client-side and they are authenticated using a unique API key on the server-side.
Other significant mobile application development security best practices can incorporate, Validation of User input, Avoiding the need for personal data and use of ProGuard before publishing the application. The Idea is to secure application users from as much malware as possible.
How to Make iOS Apps Secure?
1. Storage of Data –
To more simplify your application’s architecture and improve its security, the most ideal path is to store application data in memory rather than writing it it on a disk or sending it to a remote server. In spite of the fact that if storing the data locally is your sole choice, there are different approaches:-
The best place to store less amount of sensitive data which doesn’t require frequent access is Keychain. Data which is stored in keychains is managed by the OS but it isn’t accessible by some other application.
– Caches: If your data doesn’t need to be backed up on iCloud or iTunes then you can store the data in the Caches directory of application sandbox. – Defaults system: The default system is a helpful strategy for storing a lot of data.
3. Networking security –
Apple is popular for security and privacy policies it offers. And for quite a long time, it has worked to reach this level. A couple of years back, Apple had introduced App Transport Security which implements third-party mobile applications to send network requests over a more secure connection, i.e., HTTPS.
4. Security of Sensitive Information-
Most mobile applications use sensitive user data, for example, address book, location, and so on. But, as a developer, you have to ensure that all the data that you’re asking the user for is, in fact, necessary to access and more significantly, to store. So, if the data you require can be accessed through a native framework, at that point it is not necessary to duplicate and store that information. We have now observed both Android and iOS mobile application security Practices for a Hack-Proof App. But no development can be so easy as it is written about. There are always some challenges which are faced during a process. Let them push ahead and learn about the challenges which are faced by developers during best mobile application security practices.
Challenges Associated With Mobile App Security-
There is a demonstrated record of how vulnerable mobile applications can be if not enough measures are taken for their security from external malware. The following are the challenges that can arise whenever the mobile application security testing isn’t completed as per the requirement.
1. Device Fragmentation –
Before the release of an application on the application stores, some necessary procedures should be followed. It is important to introduce a decent variety of devices that cover various resolutions, functionalities, features, and limitations into your mobile application testing strategies. Identification of Device specific vulnerabilities can put the application developers one step ahead in application security measures. Devices, as well as various versions of popular OS’s, is a significant step to cover before the application release to cover all the potential loopholes.
2. Weak Encryptions –
In the case of weak encryption, a mobile device is vulnerable to accept data from any available device. Attackers with malware are in constant search for an open-end in public mobile devices and your application can be that open end if you don’t follow a strong suit of the encryption process. Hence, putting your efforts into strong encryption is also the best approach to make a hack-proof mobile application.
3. Weaker hosting controls –
It happens for the most part during the development of a business’ first mobile application, which normally leaves the data exposed to the server-side systems. Hence, the servers which are being used to host your application must have enough application security measures to avoid any unauthorized users from accessing significant data.
There are numerous approaches to make a hack proof mobile application, through a mobile application security audit, against the attacks from unknown sources and no amount of security measures can ever be enough. Looking into mobile application development security best practices is one approach.
Today, the digital world is out in the open for everyone’s use and no user is ever safe enough from malware and security breaches. However, these measures ensure that your personal data is safe in your digital devices. If you are also troubled about the security of your mobile app, consult with Solace experts. We have dedicated team of experts to help you through valuable consultation. Connect with Solace to develop secured mobile app for your business. We will be happy to help you.