Today our lives are increasingly centered around our mobile devices. We spend ample of hours on this handheld device and use it for accomplishing tasks that range from shopping, banking and answering emails to tracking our fitness and remotely controlling the thermostat at home.
For a simplified execution mobiles are inculcated with carefully engineered mobile apps that connect to Application Programming Interfaces (API) and servers that help to deliver data and services to end-users.
As apps are getting more advanced, the security attacks are increasing and as a result vulnerabilities related to data storage and its functionalities are gaining a rapid momentum.
Hackers could potentially wreak havoc on mobile devices for identifying thefts, inject malicious software or even take over a company’s back-end network.
So, what steps can be taken to secure your iPhone or Android app development?
The basic difference between web apps and mobile app development lies in the location of the code script. For the web application, the code resides in the backend web or in the application server in the data center or even in the cloud. What the user sees is just an interface and has to access data through the internet.
But for mobile apps, once the app is downloaded, the app code also resides on the device. A hacker who downloads the app first looks for weaknesses, gets access to your IP, fill the app with targeted malware and make it available to other users.
The app should be protected with proper encryption. Modern algorithms used with API encryption can work. Using the obfuscated code would not be sufficient. But encryption would make the code completely secure.
Moreover, to ensure easy updates, codes should be made easily portable between the operating system and the device, but care should be taken to secure the codes in such a way that it doesn’t slow down the device.
Back-end network connections need to be secured
Servers and cloud servers that an app’s APIs are accessing should have security measures in place to protect data and prevent unauthorized access.
Data is particularly vulnerable when an app’s API tries to access its servers and cloud servers. Security needs to be upped several notches to prevent unauthorizes access. Verification of the APIs should be carried out to thwart any attempt at snooping on important client information being passed back to the app’s database.
The best way to ensure data sent from a client is safe is to use either SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or a VPN (Virtual Private Network) tunnel.
Other methods of secure data storage could be to create encrypted containers. And last but not the least, a network security specialist could conduct what is called, penetration testing, to assess vulnerability of the network and data protection.
Encrypt all data
An excellent way to protect data accurately is to use File-level encryption. This way data cannot be read even if it is intercepted. Moreover, mobile apps should be designed in such a way that user passwords or credit card information cannot be stored on a device. Even if it is, it should be in an encrypted storage area.
Test and test again
This is one of the main processes of app development and yet at times it is overlooked by companies racing to reach the market with its product before others.
Before publishing an app, it is essential to test it for not only functionality and usability, but for security as well. Testing should be done for authentication, authorization and data security.
Unless the apps are developed keeping in mind stringent security measures, the companies responsible could imperil the whole set-up, give out valuable customer data and lose out in the face of stiff competition in the mobile application market.