How to Overcome Mobile App Security Vulnerabilities in 2020?
Mobile security threats are on peak these days. Individuals and enterprises across the globe that rely on the employees using their personal devices for business purposes are on the verge of potential data security and privacy threats.
On average, the cost of a corporate data breach is nearly $3.80 million. Therefore, mobile app security is charting at the top in every organization’s worry list; and, for the mobile app development company designing different mobile apps for their clients.
When we talk about mobile app security, even Android stores and Apple stores are having their own weaknesses. In a survey from Threat Post in September 2019, it was found that almost 172 malicious apps were detected in Google Play Store, with approximately 330 million downloads.
In such a scenario, mobile app designers should not consider app security as a feature; instead, it is a bare necessity for organizations. A single security breach in the mobile app not only cost the company but also impacts the trust quotient of mobile users.
Okay, but how my mobile app can be vulnerable to security?
Well, hacking or breaching mobile apps are becoming a lot easier and faster than ever before! Let’s try to know why?
- Based on the industry research, it is identified that in 84% of cases, the initial security compromise took hardly a minute for the hackers!
- There is a number of tools available in the market that can help in breaching mobile app security. In fact, many of them are available free of cost, which is the main reason why breaching mobile app security is relatively easy.
- Mobile apps are usually segregated in a distributed and unregulated environment. In most of the cases, unprotected binary code in the app is the soft target for the dirty minds to exploit the app!
- An experienced or well-equipped hacker can easily breach the security of the mobile apps designed by the Mobile App Development Company using authorized code modifications or by inserting malicious code in the application binaries.
- Secondly, hackers can perform reverse engineering or code analysis of binaries statically and dynamically. Using this method, hackers can easily gather information about source code, sensitive data, and proprietary IP details and use it for exploitation.
- The hackers can also leverage from method swizzling in which they target the critical class-methods within the mobile app.
- Insecure data storage like SQL databases, cookies storage, binary data stores and more cause vulnerabilities in the OS, frameworks, or in new devices.
If you are a mobile app designer or working in a Mobile App Development Company, it is time for you to go for application hardening and run-time protection while designing any mobile app.
So, what are the best ways to secure the mobile app?
Here’s the list of the ways developers and designers can strengthen the security of their mobile apps:
First and foremost, focus on how you write the code :
One of the very early entry points for hackers or malware into any mobile application is poorly written code with bugs and vulnerabilities. This is the first place where hackers can break your mobile app using reverse engineering or inserting malicious code.
If you look at the statistics, it shows that almost 11.6 million are getting affected with malicious code of mobile apps, quite a huge number don’t you think?
Therefore, it is crucial for the Mobile App Development Company or developers to start practicing code hardening and signing process while writing code. Another thing to consider while designing a mobile app is to perform rigorous testing to rectify all the possible bugs.
Prefer to use server-side authentication :
When we talk about server-side authentication, only multifactor authentication requests are allowed once successfully authorized.
In case the application you design requires data storage on the client-side and available on the device, it is critical for you to make sure you encrypt the data and make it available once the credentials are successfully validated by the server.
-In case your app is having persistent authentication kind of functionality, it is important that you never store password data on a mobile device. It is advisable to use different authentication tokens for each device.
Try to use cryptographic algorithms and key management :
Many mobile apps often face encryption breaches too! To overcome the encryption-related breaches, it is necessary for the developers that they never store sensitive information on the mobile device, i.e. hard-coded keys, password,], etc.
You can leverage from the code encryption, but it is not a perfect solution since attackers can easily decrypt information in the client-side.
In this case, it is always beneficial not to use algorithms that have been deprecated by the security communities.
Always validate user inputs :
The user inputs are soft targets for the attackers. While designing the mobile app, make sure you use proper input validations, like if you are uploading an image, it should be having a specific extension and should be of a reasonable size.
If your input field is not having proper validations to check for the size or extension, it is easy for the attackers to upload even a malicious file pertaining to be an image.
Design a threat model to secure the data :
Threat modeling is a process to deep dive into the problems being faced and resolved, identifying the areas where the issue is still existing, and designing strategies to protect the app against the possible loopholes.
It is important for the developers to understand how different operating systems, platforms, and APIs manage data and design the strategies accordingly.
Deploy mobile API security best practices :
Mobile apps commonly use APIs to interact with different services. Properly used APIs and tokens play a vital role in imposing different security standards in mobile apps. Try to follow the best practices for using mobile apps like:
- Using a simple App ID Key
- Securing the communication channel
- Avoid API call tempering
- Don’t forget to secure the secrets
- Manage user credentials with care
Go for code obfuscation :
Obfuscation of the code is an act of designing a code, which is hard to understand by humans. With the help of necessary tools and skills, developers can convert source code into a program that works in a similar way but hard to read or understand. You can follow below practices to obfuscate the code:
- Encrypt the code
- Cut-out the revealing metadata
- Try to rename the important class and variable names
- Incorporate unused or meaningless code to the application binary
Apart from these best practices, one should also utilize sessions handling, the principle of least privilege, temper detection techniques, and many more techniques to secure their mobile app.
Last but not the least, it is always necessary to perform testing and updating the app on a regular basis to incorporate security patches introduced by the platforms.
What’s your take on mobile app security techniques? Want to secure your mobile from the security hacks? Hire mobile app developers from us to know how we can help you do it with ease!
Meshur Ahir is a young enthusiast who Loves Internet Marketing and is always eager to share useful and authentic content to help others. He believes in Learning, Sharing, and keep growing together. A Computer Science Engineer By Chance and Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant in Pixlogix Infotech Pvt. Ltd. by Choice.