Best Practices to Enhance the Security of Your Mobile Application

Lucidity Lancaster
July 25, 2022

Mobile Application Entrepreneurship can be rewarding and exciting, but it isn’t without its dangers and hardships. In 2020, 155.8 million people in the U.S. were victims of data exposures. The scary truth is that hackers are everywhere. They are malicious cybercriminals looking to profit off of vulnerable consumer data. 

Cybersecurity should be an essential part of your risk management strategy. Having the basics of security like strong passwords and tightened network security is all well and good, but you need to be more proactive in your security measures if you really want to protect your data. Mobile applications hold all manner of sensitive data like personal details and credit card information. As a mobile app entrepreneur, you need to protect your app before the threat appears, and it is too late. 

Delving into mobile app security is easier said than done. If you don’t know where to begin, here are some best practices to get you started.

Include tools when developing the app to detect and address security vulnerabilities - Beginning your security strategy in the development phase will save you a lot of time and money. The DevSecOps approach does precisely that by utilizing the DevOps methodology. This approach has the development, security, and operations teams working together from the start allowing for a smooth beginning to your app and better security at day one. 

Penetration Tests and Reports – You won’t know whether or not your security measures are successful without ever testing them. An important step to testing your app security is penetration testing. Penetration testing is essentially acting as a “white hat,” or ethical hacker. Your goal is to attempt to hack into your own systems in order to identify your weaknesses, see the consequences of a breach, and improve upon the failings of those systems. These tests should be done regularly to remain proactive with your mobile app security. 

Another process you can use is called threat modeling. Threat modeling is the process of, “...identifying the potential threats, and documenting how vulnerable these threats make the system.” After testing and analysis, you should form a report and comprehensive plan on how to update your product. 

Use the most up to date security algorithms and encryption techniques – You need to protect your data at every level of development, whether it be in the sandbox environment or in your live application. Encryption is a popular method to do this. You can use libraries like SQLite for your mobile app encryption. Another method for protecting your application is code obfuscation. Code obfuscation, in a nutshell, makes your code unreadable to humans (a hacker) but still completely functional for you. 

Multi-level Authentication – We all know that we should be making strong passwords and changing them often, but incidents of hacking still occur through this channel everyday. You may choose to make it mandatory for your users to change passwords regularly. Disabling the option to save passwords in your app may not be enough either. If your app stores highly sensitive information, you may need to go the extra mile. More and more large companies are using two-factor authentication as the solution to this problem. Since your application is mobile, you can have the authentication be linked to the user’s email rather than via text, a popular method for two-factor authentication. 

Protect data in transit against privacy leaks – There may be times where you need to transfer sensitive data from a user to a server. At this time your data is exceptionally vulnerable. In these situations, it is ideal to use a firewall, VPN, or an SSL. An SSL or secure socket layer encrypts communication between a server and a browser in order to protect your sensitive data from being stolen in the transfer. 

The Bottom Line

In a world where technology is only becoming more and more ingrained in our daily lives, hackers are a reality we will always have to face. The best thing you can do for your mobile app security is to be proactive. Always be looking for better solutions and testing your app's security. One of the greatest deciders of consumer behavior is trustworthiness. Trustworthiness can decide customer loyalty or whether they will buy into your product to begin with. If you want users to download your app, you need to assure them that their data is safe and secure with you. 

Running a mobile application business takes a village, and a good entrepreneur knows when to reach out for help. If you need help evaluating your app’s performance, we at Camber Creative offer free consultations. 

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