9 Ways to Supercharge Security During Mobile App Development
By Sourodip Biswas
Security is one of the most vital aspects of any mobile application. However, it is often found to be neglected during the process of app development. In this blog, we will walk you through some essential ways that can help supercharge security during the development of a mobile app. In the times when mobile applications have touched upon all kinds of industries – from entertainment to banking – security has become even more crucial.
After all, a small security breach can make users vulnerable to hackers while causing massive losses and permanent damage to the company’s reputation. Therefore, it is important for developers to be extra cautious when it comes to mobile app security, the moment the app development begins. Wondering how to go about it? Here are 9 ways to boost security during the mobile app development phase.
Think About Security Early On
Do you think about app security after the app has been developed? Then, it’s time to rethink your mobile app development process right away. Security of any app, no matter which industry it belongs to or what type it is, should be paid attention to the moment the app development plan takes off. As a developer, one has to take into account all the potential issues and threats that might come up from the word go. Think of it as a checklist to resort to at every stage of development. It will not only help eliminate loopholes strategically but will also save your time, effort and costs, which you would otherwise spend in correcting vulnerabilities post-development.
Consider Different Perspectives
When developing a mobile app, developers have to don multiple hats to understand what kind of security breaches could take place. In addition to evaluating things from a developer’s point of view, they also have to contemplate all the possible concerns that the company and app’s end users might encounter, from a problematic feature to maintenance measures that would greatly help in devising robust security measures. Developers can also look at competitors’ apps to find out problems faced by users to steer clear of similar issues.
Incorporate Authentication From the Beginning
A weak authentication can become the biggest cause of concern when it comes to mobile app security. In spite of knowing this, many developers tend to delay the authentication integration into the app, which in turn, puts the entire security plan at risk. To avoid such issues, always incorporate authentication at an early stage. Moreover, decide the kind of authentication, the data to be input by users for authorization, and its level of complexity as soon as you can. If you can include two-step authentication in your app, it would elevate security significantly.
Stress on Privacy
According to NowSecure findings, 70% out of the 250 leading Android apps that the firm reviewed, disclosed sensitive personal data of users. Therefore, it becomes even more important to not just make the user experience on the app utmost secure, but also ensure complete privacy of user data. Let’s say your mobile app allows users to communicate with each other or share files via the platform. In such a case, if you don’t ensure 100% privacy of the communications and data transfers taking place among users, the whole idea of your app’s security would come crashing down.
Rely on Data Encryption
One of the key approaches to achieve full-proof security is by employing data encryption into your app during development. No matter what, the app shouldn’t make it possible for any third-party app, servers, or hackers to decrypt users’ private data, even if it’s compromised, without their permission. Developers can use robust cryptographic protocols, such as SSL and TLS, for data safety. Furthermore, it’s vital to safeguard both local and cloud data.
Be Alert on API Integration
Although APIs (Application Programming Interface) make the app development process smoother for developers, its unmindful integration can become a privilege for attackers. So, what should be done? First, as a developer, you should only integrate strongly coded, authorized APIs into the app you’re building. Second, weigh in on the potential infringements that could arise due to these APIs’ loopholes. Third, keep a check on the number of permissions you grant to such tools.
Include Trusted Third-Party Libraries
When developing a mobile app, it is a common practice to integrate third-party libraries into your app. However, these libraries are not risk-free and may cause security breaches. Thus, if you are planning to add an open-source, third-party library into your app, it’s best to thoroughly test its code beforehand to avoid future security vulnerabilities in your app.
Ensure Everyone is on the Same Page
To attain maximum app security, it’s imperative for each member on the app development team to have and pursue the same goals. Each team member should have clarity on things to be done, the processes to be followed, and the tools to be used throughout the development stage. That would speed up development and decrease flaws at every stage, increasing security as a whole. It is also a good practice to have a dedicated team to overlook the app’s security aspects. That would take the burden off developers’ shoulders.
Carry out Testing on a Regular Basis
Do you test your app only when it completes development? If so, then you need to change that. Testing your mobile app regularly, right from its developmental phase, will not only enable you to identify problems early but will also let you fix them before they become bigger. Moreover, regular testing helps you gauge what is not working and make appropriate modifications, in terms of security and overall app operation, hassle-freely. Of course, complete testing after the app is ready is still important.
While implementing the right mobile app security measures is vital, it’s even more critical to employ them all through the development lifecycle. That’s because once an app is developed, integrating additional security measures is not only difficult but takes up a lot of effort and time for developers. Hence, it is wiser to work on security from the very beginning of the process. Author-bio:- Sourodip Biswas works with an expert team of mobile app and web developers at Space-O Canada, a leading app development company. He believes that "learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere", so he tries to learn something new whenever possible. His work has been published on various distinguished blogs across the web.