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June 15, 2017

Enhancing the Security of Mobile Apps

Mobile devices have transformed our world allowing us to do anything from anywhere at any time, online. Right from banking transactions to controlling our IoT devices at our homes, online shopping to working remotely, mobile devices have made our lives indispensable. This productivity of mobile devices is due to the myriad apps that connect to APIs and servers to offer data and services to the users.

With thousands of apps hitting the market each week, there are also thousands of hackers geared up to tap into these apps with the intent of phishing sensitive data or implant malware. Mobile apps and the APIs that power them are vulnerable to security threats no matter how relaxed we are due to our trust that brands like Apple and Google are synonymous to security. Although the operating systems of the mobile devices are built with security precautions, the shield protecting our personal data has little control over the vulnerabilities in the applications we use. This is because mobile applications communicate with external servers and our mobile operating system has no control over them.

When it comes to mobile application security, companies and developers need to be proactive rather than being reactive. In other words, the developers should refrain from developing security features after the app is developed. Rather, the security measures to protect the app must be developed when the app is being conceived and created.

Let us discuss a few step by step initiatives that can be taken to integrate security into mobile app development process.

1.Security endeavors begin with the app itself.

Businesses focus more on network and data security components. Securing your app’s code from the basic phase, however, is equally important. Most vulnerabilities may exist in the source code of the app that must not be overlooked.

2.Identification, Authentication, and Authorization

“The more, the merrier.” Identification, Authentication, and Authorization will make the users verify to the app who they are. This adds another layer of security to the login process. One can consider technologies specific for this purpose. For instance, JSON web tokens are ideal for mobile security.

3.A Good Mobile Encryption Strategy for Your Device

More data stored locally on the device, more vulnerable it becomes because more of the mobile’s app data and code must be stored on the device. Mobile apps can release the customer data without their knowledge. The best way to shield from this is to have proper encryption strategies. Encrypted mobile databases and file-level encryption protect data on the device by making it either unreadable or difficult to intercept.

4.Secure the Back End

An app’s API accesses the servers and cloud servers. The security measures for the back end must thus be in place to protect the data and prevent unauthorized access. It is important to verify the APIs and those accessing them so that sensitive information does not eavesdrop when passed to the app’s server and database back from the client.

These were just a few measures. A comprehensive list would be too lengthy. However, if followed well, this list of measures would be extremely useful in securing your app.

Building an app may or may not be that challenging. But what is really challenging is securing it against phishing and, virus and malware attacks, especially after it is developed, so that the user data is safe and secure. If security is taken care of properly right from the initial stages of app development, many of the discrepancies can be avoided and an app can wholly be called best-in-class.

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