Things to Consider for Creating a Secure Mobile App

The use of mobile applications in the business world is growing exponentially. This offers new opportunities for businesses to grow. Still, it also poses significant risks to data security and privacy because cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to exploit weaknesses and penetrate defenses.

Many organizations have been victims of data breaches because of the vulnerability in their mobile apps, which could be hacked or exploited with ease. The scary part? More than 77 percent of businesses lack proper cybersecurity incident response plans.

You do not want to be a victim of any form of a data breach, whether publicized or not publicized. The same applies to your client base. Therefore, if you have a mobile app or plan to build one, it’s prudent to ensure that suitable security measures are in place.

This way, you will significantly reduce the risks of having sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers landing in the hands of the wrong people. In this post, we’ll look at some of the things to consider when developing mobile apps.

But first, what is Mobile App Security?

Mobile app security is a lot more than just keeping the device safe from malware and spyware. It also ensures that your clients’ sensitive data stay out of reach for cybercriminals who may want to spy on or steal user data.

In this regard, your customers won’t have any worries when using your mobile app to look at your offers or make orders online. However, if you are thinking of developing your mobile app, a relatively common question that could be endlessly racing in your mind is, ‘what is mobile app security?’

Mobile App Security refers to the measures you take to safeguard your mobile apps from being accessed by hackers or other malicious actors. Mobile security measures are taken on both development and deployment stages, using different methods for each stage.

To ensure that you have a secure mobile app, your teams of developers need to work closely with system administrators, operations personnel, and even legal counsels to ensure that mobile app security is addressed from different angles. In addition, systems administrators will need to monitor for cyber-attacks and systems failures or glitches, and other threats so that mobile apps can be updated consistently with the most current security measures at any given time. Here are the top issues to keep an eye on if you wish to create a secure mobile app.

I. Minimal Application Permissions

Mobile apps, just like any other type of software, should be developed with the minimum set of permissions. Therefore, it is prudent that you only request permission for features or information that your mobile app needs to function correctly and securely. Mobile apps should not require access to contacts, messages, or microphones, for instance.

II. Enhance Data Security

As a basic rule of thumb, you should always use a two-factor authentication (or multifactor) system to enhance data security. It will also help if you encrypt all user information and messages in transit, known as SSL encryption or TLS encryption.

The SSL encryption works by using a private key/public key system, where the mobile app developer or the owner possesses a private key that is used to encrypt data and users have their public keys.

We suggest that you secure the customer’s PII by installing the right kind of SSL cert. When you buy SSL certificate for your website, you keep out sniffing and phishing attacks, thereby engendering trust in your valued customers. Mobile app developers can also employ industry-standard security measures like Mobile App Firewalls (MAF) and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) systems.

III. Session Handling

To build a secure mobile app, it is advisable to ensure that the app is session-based to avoid data being stolen due to a lost or forgotten login. You may also use “single sign-on” systems like OpenID Connect, which allows customers and employees of an organization to access different mobile apps using their credentials. You may also want to use Mobile Application Management (MAM) systems, which provide organizations with granular control on mobile apps.

IV. Create Secure user Credentials

Your mobile app should utilize mobile security to prevent the disclosure of personal information and credit card numbers.

It would be best to make it mandatory for your audience to create solid passwords or allow them to employ mobile authentication apps like Google Authenticator, which generates time-sensitive passwords and provides an additional layer of protection in case there is no internet connection available on the mobile device.

You can also use Mobile Security Tokens like RSA SecurID, which provides Mobile Application Owners with the ability to provide two-factor authentication through a rotating six-digit number and digital certificates generated by their server and sent to the user’s phone via SMS or email.

V. Test your Apps Periodically

It is a good practice to test your apps for vulnerabilities and security flaws periodically. Ideally, it would be best if you conduct an internal penetration testing of your mobile applications at least once every 90 days or more often, if necessary.

It is also advisable that you commission external penetration tests on your mobile app(s) at least once every six months. In addition, it would be best if you used a variety of tools such as pen testing software to find vulnerabilities and security flaws in your app that hackers or other malicious actors can exploit to access sensitive data from your clients’ mobile devices.

  VI. Protection from Malware

Threat reports point at mobile apps as having a high likelihood of transmitting malware to mobile devices. To reduce the risks of your mobile app being used in injecting malware to your user’s devices, you should have a plan for regularly updating or applying patches for new vulnerabilities as they arise.

You can employ Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems, Mobile Threat Protection Services, and Mobile Application Verification Systems.

VII. Encrypt Cache

As a general rule, you should also encrypt content stored in the application cache. There are mobile device and mobile OS applications, which allow for the encryption of cached data on a device’s hard drive and an individual app-specific key that is only available to authorized users. It is also essential that you provide Mobile Device Passcode Protection, which prevents unauthorized access to data on Mobile Devices.

Key Takeaways

It is your responsibility as a mobile app owner to employ mobile security best practices to prevent disclosing your client’s personal information and credit card numbers. You should also take it upon yourself to ensure that users are required to create strong passwords or employ Mobile Authentication Apps like Google Authenticator, which generates time-sensitive passwords to ensure robust security.

Finally, remember to install an SSL certificate to protect data transmission between the mobile devices and the mobile app server. This way, you will find it easier to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks, which would allow hackers to view data sent in the clear or weakened encryption.

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