Safeguarding Mobile Apps in an Age of Cyber Threats

How many of us have come across cyber crimes or even seen threats regarding confidential information leaks? Let’s get this straight, potential and unknown cyber threats are super frequent on the web.

With over 8.93 Million smartphone apps worldwide and 8.58 Billion global mobile subscriptions, we can say that smartphones are a part of our daily lives & routines. From just being a wireless mode of communication, to becoming an indispensable tool for communication, entertainment, and productivity—smartphones have become the heart of our routines and mobile apps are their fuel.

On average, there are 51 apps on every smartphone and without these apps made with the best mobile app development services, they aren’t that fun or productive. But did you know how these entertaining, productive, super functional mobile apps harbor risks too? Yep, the kind of risks exposing the users to a long list of cyber attacks that can compromise personal information.

According to Kaspersky, there were 33.8 Million mobile phone cyberattacks, and almost three-quarters of the mobile phone apps didn’t even pass the basic security tests. This is a big concern not only for smartphone users but for developers too.

From banking information to personal messages, we store almost every information on our smartphones. If data is compromised on these phones, it can wreak havoc putting the concerned individuals at stake! It is necessary for a credible mobile app development services company to come up with the latest security practices that will keep user’s data secure.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of mobile apps security and understand every nook and cranny of this realm.

Common Mobile App Security Risks

Poor API Protection

Most of the modern-day mobile apps need API for their function but many mobile app development services companies out there don’t prioritize the protection of these APIs. They are under the impression that potential hackers won’t find this weakness enticing enough to attack, however the opposite is true.

API offers clear access to structured and stable information and this is what the cyber criminals need. All they need to do is reverse-engineer the mobile apps with a weak API to explore an access point. Security should be integrated into all stages of the API lifecycle starting from the design phase, through development and deployment.

While having a discovery tool is essential, in down security strategies we emphasize that effective API security begins with the teams for creating and implementing APIs (refer to API First and API Governance below).

This method of approaching application and API security is commonly referred to as “shift left ” where security measures are implemented in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and can be automated within the CI/CD pipeline.

SQL injection

One of the methods cyber attackers use to infiltrate your app is by sending unusual data that provides them with unauthorized access. The data sent by the cyber criminal is modified in such a way that the app perceives it as an executable code.

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SQL injection is the most common form of client-side injection that poses a significant threat to the security of your app. In SQL injection attacks, cyber attackers exploit vulnerabilities in the app’s database layer by inserting malicious SQL code into input fields. What happens next? Well, it tricks the app into executing unintended commands, potentially granting unauthorized access to sensitive information or even compromising the entire database.

The other form of injection attack is Local File Inclusion (LFI), where attackers manipulate file paths to gain access to sensitive files stored on the server. These injection techniques can have devastating consequences, ranging from app crashes to data breaches, highlighting the critical importance of implementing robust security measures to mitigate such risks.

Malware Attachment

Mobile malware is a malicious code developed to penetrate devices or mobile applications, typically with the intent of accessing private info of the users. There are various means through which malware can spread such as links, downloads, or apps, and poses a huge risk due to the increased use of mobile apps.

Oftentimes cybercriminals target mobile apps as prime vectors for malware distribution, using tactics like embedding malicious code in the apps, injecting harmful code into even the most credible ones or creating convincing replicas of popular apps with an intent of deception.

Even unwanted or unusual third-party integration can transform into one of the main sources of malware. This can threaten both the performance and the security of the mobile application. This is one of the most popular forms of threat to the current mobile apps. Only the best mobile app development company in India can help you with the same.

Weak server-side controls

The mobile apps of the current era have both a server-side and a client-side. The user sees only the client side. But to function, the client side is dependent upon the server side.

Security loopholes on the server side are common and are mostly exploited by cyber criminals through unsafe APIs. Cybercriminals can include weak authentication rules, code logic flaws, insecure server configuration, and much more to gain access to sensitive data on the app.

Best Mobile App Security Practices

1.Be wary of libraries

One of the main things mobile app developers need to keep in mind is they should always be cautious while using third-party libraries. This is necessary because faulty libraries can infiltrate the app and this would lead to security loopholes in the app.

Hire ios app developers that patch and update third-party libraries regularly. Also, developers must conduct a thorough security analysis of all the libraries that are being used on the app. Developers should always pick reputed and well-maintained libraries and keep them updated.

2. Effective Encryption Practices

Several points need to be kept in mind for effective encryption practices. First of all, developers should have well-established encryption algorithms like Advanced Encryption Standard. It is also paramount to stay updated with the latest encryption practices otherwise cybercriminals will easily find loopholes.

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Additionally, safe protocols like Transport Layer Security or HTTPS should be used for communication between the backend server and the app. Such types of protocols build an encrypted connection, keeping the data safe during transmission and guarding against any type of tampering and eavesdropping.

3. Safe coding practices

Both Apple and Google ensure pivotal guidelines either during the coding process or during application publication. This makes it necessary if you hire android app developers or hire ios app developers to stick to the coding guidelines like input validation and output encoding. This helps the developers avoid data leaks when it comes to sensitive data stored on the mobile app.

Additionally, error handling and logging can be used by developers to minimize software errors as they are often a clear indication of bugs. Many of these bugs can lead to vulnerabilities in the app. With error handling, errors can be caught in the code before they end up causing a catastrophic failure.

4. Privacy Policy

Privacy policy is another important aspect of mobile app development that developers should always move forward with precaution. In many cases, privacy policy is considered as a formality by the developers and this is where things can go wrong.

Hire IOS Developers that can always communicate the privacy policy and the data handling practice of the mobile app clearly to the users so that there will be no doubt in the mind of the user regarding how their data will be used. To ensure the privacy of mobile app users, your developers should delve into HIPAA compliance in mobile app development services to gain information regarding health application development.

5. Strong Authentication Method

During mobile app development, the one thing that developers should never forget about is; the implementation of a strong authentication method. A more secure authentication mechanism ensures that the chances of data breaches are reduced if not nullified.

A perfect mix of password, username, and secondary verification in the form of OTPs or even biometric authentication makes sure that the chances of unauthorized access to the app and its data come down to zero. For example, a developer can use multi-factor authentication that demands the users to verify their identity through more than two independent credentials.

6. Secure Development Lifecycle

There are multiple phases of app development and every phase is not the same in terms of time, effort, and skill. But this doesn’t mean that a developer should focus less on security in a less demanding phase of mobile application development.

An ideal, experienced, and skilled developer will always incorporate security practices throughout the app’s development lifecycle right from the first phase of design to testing and deployment.

7. Safeguarding mobile apps from the user’s point of view

Smartphone users can also implement the best security practices to keep their data safe. Some security practices that can be practiced by mobile users are:

8. Lock Screen

The lock screen is one of the first lines of defense that can help smartphone users keep their data safe from a wide array of data breaches. Lock screen timeout, app notification settings and more can be used by smartphone users to keep their data stored on the app safe.

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9. Confined Permission

If you have downloaded an app for editing pics and it asks for contact list permission then instead of just clicking on the allow button, you should click on deny. There are many apps out there that ask for more permission than what they need and this is where you need to be cautious.

Always check the permission before clicking the allow button while keeping the purpose of the app in mind. Never just click on the allow button randomly. This can make the data stored on the app vulnerable.

10. Data Backups

Your smartphone contains private and sensitive data and therefore, you should always use the best safety practices to keep your data safe. One of the best ways to do that is to regularly keep a backup of it.

For eg. Apps like WhatsApp, you get the option to backup your data on the cloud, in case you lose your phone or change your phone. But this facility is not available on all the apps. In such a case, you will have to manually backup your data to the cloud. You can use free cloud storage space offered in the form of Google Drive or even other cloud services.

11. Robust Antivirus

A robust and reputed antivirus can be one of the strongest weapons on your smartphone when it comes to data breaches. But not all the mobile antivirus apps out there can be trusted, especially in an age where the types of cyberattacks are on the rise every day.

Conclusion

We live in a world that is super interconnected, thus safeguarding your mobile app is not just a best practice; it has become an absolute necessity. There is a constant rise in cyber threats targeting mobile devices and applications, thus we believe that it is imperative to ensure the security of your app—the intent here is to protect both the users and your reputation.

It’s best for businesses to opt for mobile app development services. Whether you’re developing for iOS or Android, hiring experienced developers can help you implement security measures and do timely quality checks.

The dedicated developers that can help identify potential vulnerabilities in your app’s code, recommend best practices for secure coding, and integrate security features to fortify your app against cyber attacks.

They can tailor safety tips to suit your specific mobile app development needs, taking into account important factors such as the app type, its intended target audience, and potential issues that may affect it in future.

You must understand that the app users are increasingly discerning when it comes to app security, and providing a secure platform can significantly impact customer retention and satisfaction.

Ultimately, securing your mobile app is an ongoing process that requires quality check, collaboration, and a commitment to staying ahead of emerging threats.

You need to filter down the available safety tips to suit your mobile app development needs or you can hire ios app developers for hire android developers to help you adapt the practices. Speak with experts and secure your mobile apps today.