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Mobile App Security Best Practices for Developers

10 Jan 2020 Developer News
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Mobile app security is one of the fundamental concerns that all mobile app developers should put into consideration. Any security breach can have severe consequences not only to the client's reputation but also to the reputation of the developer. It could also lead to a massive loss of billions of resources. That is the more reason as to why security should be given a priority for as far as mobile app development is concerned. The developers have to undertake best practices to ensure that all loopholes that could lead to data breaches and unauthorized access by malicious individuals (hackers) are sealed. This article explores some of these practices that developers can undertake to seal such loopholes.

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1 Make Use of a Hack-proof Code

Security codes and bugs provide an avenue for the start of a successful hack. According to research, 11.6 Million mobile devices have fallen victims to malicious codes. Mobile developers should thus ensure that the security is well hardened and unbreakable. Repeated tests should be conducted, and bugs fixed immediately they are identified. There are several mobile application techniques that mobile developers can take advantage of to ensure that mobile applications are hardened against any form of security attack. They include; OWASP methodology, obfuscation, and minification techniques. The developers should also make use of a code signing certificate for security purpose, which confirms the author of the software and provides the assurance that no alteration to the code was undertaken since it was signed.

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2 Make Sure That All Data Exchange Between the Mobile App is Encrypted

Mobile app security should not just stop at making a hack-proof code but should go further to make sure that all data transfer is encrypted. Encryption is a technique of securing data through scrambling plain texts into some vague texts without meaning. The vague alphabets will only be converted into some useful data to the intended recipient, who has the private key. Data encryption is one way of making malicious hackers unable to read the information that is being transmitted. It is, therefore, essential to develop an app that encrypts all unit of data that appears into it.

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3 Be cautious with Third-Party Libraries

Most developers prefer to use third-party libraries for code building. Developers should, however, be very cautious with this and should carry out serious checks to the codes before using them in the mobile apps. This is because some third-party libraries can be very dangerous and pose extreme insecurities to the apps. The developers should go for the tried and tested third-party libraries to be sure of mobile app security.

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4 Make Use of Only Authorized APIs

A study conducted recently showed that APIs are the soft target for hackers. Unauthorized APIs with loose codes can give hackers several loopholes which they use to access mobile application data maliciously. Mobile developers should go for those APIs that are centrally authorized to ensure that no loopholes exist.

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5 Implement High-Level User Authorization

It is for a fact that most of the biggest security attacks happen out of weak authentication. That is enough reason as to why mobile developers should encourage their clients to make use of much stronger authentication. The developer can also create apps that only accept strong passwords and which must be renewed after some time. The mobile apps should involve a combination of static passwords and static OTP. The developer should also create stronger authentication like face recognition and fingerprint scan security features.

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6 Know Platform Specific Limitations

Sometimes a developer may be required to develop an app for several mobile operating systems. In such a situation, the developer should be keen on specific features that relate to the different operating systems and which can affect the security of a mobile app. The developer should have adequate knowledge at hand for as far android and IOS operating systems are concerned and then make appropriate codes.

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7 Apply Least Privilege Principle

The principle of least privilege dictates that codes should run with only those permissions that are vital for its functioning and nothing more than that. As a mobile app developer, therefore, you should not call for any more privileges than those that are required for its function. If there is no need to have access to the users’ contacts, then there is no essence requesting for them. The less your app knows, the better.

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8 Make Use of the Latest and the Best Cryptography Tools

If you want mobile app encryption to pay off, then the most crucial mobile app security feature that you have to apply is the Proper Key Management. You should never, at any point, hard-code your keys because that only makes it easy for hackers to steal. The keys should also be securely stored in containers and never should they be stored locally in the devices. You also have to go for the latest cryptographic protocols such as 256-bit AES encryption and SHA-256 for hashing.

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9 Make Regular Tests and Updates

Developing a mobile app is not a one-time task. It is, in fact, a never-ending process that should be performed regularly. One of the major causes of mobile app failure is improper and irregular testing and update. It is the work of the mobile developer to carry out regular updates to fix any loopholes that might occur over time.

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10 Deploy Appropriate Session Handling

Proper session handling is an essential aspect of mobile app security. This is because of the fact that mobile devices sessions usually have a longer life span as compared to those of desktop devices. You can opt to make use of tokens instead of identifiers to identify sessions. Tokens can be revoked at any point in time, and this makes them even more secure in situations when a device is stolen. You should enable the remote wiping of data from a lost device.

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Summary

As stated earlier, mobile app security is a very vital concern that all mobile app developers should put into consideration when developing mobile apps. As such, mobile app developers ought to pay attention to some of the critical security best practices in their course of developing mobile apps. This article explains the ten best practices. Hopefully, you will find the information valuable.

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