The number of smartphone users is growing across the globe, and so is the number of mobile applications. Every business is going digital to make it more convenient for the customers and reach more people. Mobile applications have made it easier to pay utility bills, transfer money, book tickets and do many other things from the comfort of your home. However, the number of cyber attacks is increasing. It poses threats to individuals and businesses. Criminals are always looking for their next target, which is a challenge to software developers. A glitch can cost millions to the companies and their customers. How to secure android apps? This article is a guide to help developers boost android app security.
Ten Security Practices for Android App Development You Should Not Ignore
1. Keep Your Source Code Secure
Codes are the backbone of any mobile application. If there is a bug in the code, it is almost impossible to make the app secure. Miscreants look for bugs and vulnerabilities in the code and try to tamper with it. There are many ways they can access the code and break it. How can you make the code secure? Using Android SDK for app development is a better option than using NDK because it is simple, and the chances of errors are less. Besides, you should test the code regularly to fix the bugs.
2. Encrypt the Files
Millions of users access a mobile application daily. Data exchanged between the app, and the server is vulnerable, and criminals can access them. How to protect the data and prevent the criminals from accessing it? Encryption is an effective way to secure the android apps and their data. It scrambles the text and translates them into an unreadable format. Even if hackers steal the data, they can’t read it, thus preventing misuse. If you are thinking of developing your app then, Code singing certificate with higher authentication is required like the Comodo EV code signing certificate is an excellent way to secure the code and ensure android app security. It is the best and cheapest code signing certificate available in the market now.
3. Security of the Server
A server stores a large number of data, and cyber criminals always try to access it. They mostly target the vulnerable server API. Imagine someone accessing the database of an organization that has millions of customers. It will create a massive problem for the customers and the organization. It is essential to secure the server. How to do that? You can add a firewall that can keep the attackers away and safeguard your server. Besides, you should use separate environments for development, testing, production, and updating the server software regularly.
4. Be Careful with Libraries
App developers may need to access third-party libraries for codes. Most third-party libraries have security flaws and are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Using those libraries carelessly can lead to cyber risks. If you use codes from such libraries, miscreants can use them and crash the app. As an app developer, you should avoid using codes from libraries; however, if you have to use them, you must test them multiple times to ensure there is no malicious code.
5. Ensure High-level Authentication
Most users keep simple and easily memorable passwords to access the app fast; they don’t realize that a weak authentication process leads to security breaches. It makes the app vulnerable to cyber risks, and hackers can access the app with someone else’s credentials. While designing the app, you must ensure that the app only accepts a strong password, which can be a combination of alphabet, number, and special characters.
6. Use Tamper-detection Mechanisms
You may use the best technologies to secure android apps; however, you can’t stop the criminals from trying to tamper with it. It becomes essential to incorporate tamper detection techniques while developing the app. This will alert you if someone tries to use a malicious code or tamper with the original code. You should also include signature verification and activities log in the security checklist.
7. Minimize the Number of Permissions Required to Access the App
Some Android apps request access to the camera, contacts, SMS, and some other details from the users when they use it for the first time. It can lead to the misuse of sensitive information and make the app more vulnerable to attackers. Unless it is not essential to access those data, you should not ask for it. Keeping this in mind during android app development will help in better android app security.
8. Add Multi-factor Authentication Features in Apps for Financial Institutions
Millions of customers use their mobile applications to transfer money, pay bills, and do other transactions. Most data theft incidents happen with these transactions. It can cost the businesses and their customers dearly. Android app development for financial institutions requires special security measures. You should add multi-factor authentication features like generating one-time passwords, biometric authentication, and real-time text and email alerts to minimize the risk.
9. Validate Input Data
Thousands of users access mobile applications daily and input a lot of data. It is essential to validate those data to secure android apps as it prevents malicious code from entering the database and information system. When developing an android app, the developers must keep this in mind to boost security.
10. Test Your Code Repeatedly and Upgrade Them
Technology is changing every day, and new threats are emerging. Hackers can use new techniques to breach the security measures you have undertaken. Testing the app regularly and updating it will help bridge the security gap. It has to be an ongoing process because when you detect a problem and find its solution, the criminals can find other ways.
Your mobile app is incomplete without ensuring app security. And with the latest mobile app trends, it becomes even more imperative to keep app security as one of the guiding principles of your development. You have to keep many things in mind. We have discussed the top ten measures to secure the android apps. Besides, you should add the latest security features to ensure better android app security.