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5 ways to secure your mobile apps

Feb 21, 2017 6:00:00 PM

Secure mobile apps

Digital technology is taking over almost everything in today’s era, changing the definition of entertainment, interaction, and transaction. We’re surrounded by digital identities and data which is interchanged over the web with associations, people, and devices without you even knowing about it at times.

The benefits are evident but then there are security issues too. For all the finesse we humans have exhibited in generating new technological systems over these years, we have got a surprisingly bad record when it comes to making them secure.

Mobile users want instantaneous anytime/anywhere easy access, without compromising the convenience and inherent functionality on all mobile phone or devices. Now it is the app owner and developer's responsibility for keeping the data of their customers safe from malignant opposers who take mobile environment as an opportunity to extract some very valuable information. Supplementing mobile apps with security is need of the hour making it the most critical element nowadays.

If you are creating an application which takes any kind of user information, it is imperative to make sure this user data is secure. These are 5 steps you can follow to harden your mobile apps and create secure mobile apps

1. Secure the code

Mobile malware often exploits bugs in the design or code of an application. If not protected well, hackers can easily obtain a public copy of an application and reverse engineer it. These apps can then be packaged with malicious code and posted for download by unsuspecting users.

It is imperative that app developers harden their application against reverse engineering and other vulnerabilities.

2. App Authentication

Ideally an app taking any sort of user information should have authentication. Any unauthenticated requests should be halted immediately. If a user has requested something from your application, double confirm to make sure if they did make the request, esp when you are dealing with sensitive information. 

This can help you confirm the authenticity of the user, see their usage patterns and makes you certain that the application is not under attack. Your customers would be willing to go an extra step when it comes to securing their data. Account logins, OTPs, security questions, all help in this regard

3. Data encryption

Data encryption

While you build an app you know you are going to store user’s information including some sensitive information - health, location, personal details etc. There is always a risk of getting hacked outside of the mobile environment - on the cloud- where your data is stored. So all the information a user provides or feeds should be encrypted covering their email addresses, usernames or any other piece of information related to them. In case the security of your database is compromised, this will ensure the hacker doesn't get easy access to any sensitive data

4. Alert the user

Many times when an application is hacked it is not through your own device, it is from another device from some other location. Well, this can also happen if the user borrows a phone/laptop from their friend or family to access an important app or buys a new device.

But a very good security precaution is to inform users of their logging in details. Try logging in from some other device and you suddenly receive a message informing you of the same. Google and Dropbox do a good job of this.

5. 2-step authentication

You can introduce voluntary double layer authentication for users who think they need it. You can give the users an additional layer of security by sending them an OTP for logging in every time. This could be made optional for users who are not comfortable sharing their phone number and don’t need the second auth layer

This is not enough!

Be extra careful regarding your applications’ security. Time is changing and so are hackers, maybe even faster. You can’t afford to be satisfied with your security systems, you need to update yourself continuously with time. Keeping your users’ information safe is of utmost importance. Even one successful hacking attempt can put your dreams of a successfull app on stake. So you need to be one step ahead of hackers - but this can be pricey - so plan ahead and plan well.

Most organizations don’t keep any budget allocated for their app security leaving them vulnerable to hackers. Therefore, it is essential that you invest in the security of your mobile app securing it against real rather than perceived threats.

This list is by no means comprehensive: there are many other ways of securing your application and it would depend on a case basis. Not every means of securing an app works for every kind of application.

If you would like to know whether your app and user data is secure or get changes made to your cloud and app code, do get in touch and we would be happy to help.

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Topics: Mobile Applications, Security

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