In a world filled with hackers, secure application development has become the biggest demand. Startups want to develop a secure mobile app first and then beautify it with high-end animations and functionalities.
Security is the biggest concern for all businesses, whether big or small.
If you plan to develop a mobile app for your startup or business, you need to emphasize security.
Security is something that is not noticeable when it is there, but without it, everything falls apart.
The more successful your app becomes, the more it comes to the attention of hackers.
A hack not only threatens your money but also your users’. It will bring down your reputation for good.
This is why security should be the utmost priority for any startup looking to create an app.
If you have an in-house development team, hire a freelancer, or get a dedicated mobile app development team like WDI, you must ensure that the app you get is secure.
Here are some things you need to ensure to build a secure mobile app.
15 Ways to Build a Secure Mobile App
Regardless of who you hire, these are the things you must ask your mobile app developer for secure app development.
1: Multifactor Authentication
Unauthorized access is a big threat to your mobile app, especially for your users.
If some crook manages to access someone else’s account, the victim’s personal data and money are at risk.
As your users are trusting you with their personal details and money, it becomes your responsibility to not let them down.
Multifactor authentication is a reliable way to avoid any random crooks hacking your users’ accounts. With multiple factors required for login, the hacker has to figure out more information to do the same task.
To implement multifactor authentication, you have to combine two or more factors required for login.
Generally, having two factors is the best step forward as it makes your app secure while not being lengthy. It will be very annoying to enter three or more details every time you have to log in.
Here are some factors you can try combining.
- One Time Password (OTP)
A password is the most popular way of logging in. The problem is that it is easy to predict as many people use crackable passwords like “123456”, “Pass123”, or “password.”
Combining it with something like a fingerprint or Face ID can increase security, as those are difficult to access for hackers.
Another effective tool is OTP authentication, which can be sent to the user’s phone number or email address.
Make sure you implement these features in your mobile app, especially if your app collects financial details.
2: Encrypt Source Code
If your app’s code is open for everyone to see, hackers can check it for vulnerabilities and bugs. It is like giving away your secret recipe, but even worse.
Hackers can simply copy the code and create duplicate applications. If you have a paid app, pirates can release it for free on their personal websites.
It can get worse as the hackers modify the app, insert some viruses, and then release it. You will find a whole bunch of modded mobile apps with a simple Google engine search. Your app could end up as one of them.
Anyone who downloads such an app will be at risk as they are giving all of their information to a crook.
Although it is the user’s responsibility to download the app from the right sources, you will still be at fault as you did not encrypt your code.
Your app’s reputation will go down if many people are getting scammed through cloned applications.
Ask your mobile app developers to encrypt your app so that none of these shenanigans happen to you.
3: External Security Audit
An external security audit means getting a team who will scrutinize your app’s code for vulnerabilities, bugs, and glitches.
You can ask your internal team to do that, and it should be done regularly.
But it is not the most effective solution.
The team that is developing your app will have a certain set of biases towards it. As they have been working on it day in and day out, they might get blind spots towards some sections.
They will not be able to check it objectively.
Therefore, an external audit is much better here.
Internal Audit Team
External Audit Team
See the code daily
Have no idea of the code
Subjective while checking
Objective while checking
Minimum expertise in testing
Testing is their day job
Unacquainted with cyber threats
Abreast with latest cyber threats
An external audit team will have no knowledge of the code, allowing them to view it objectively and without bias.
Another benefit is that the external team is proficient in its tasks. They do bug checks day in and day out. They know what and where to look for, allowing them to see what your coders can miss.
As a security audit is their job, they are well acquainted with the latest cyber security threats, which you might not know about or haven’t become mainstream yet.
An external security audit is a must if you want secure application development.
4: Prepare For Device Theft
Not all attacks can take place in the digital world. Sometimes, real-world threats can be more daunting.
Millions of smartphones get stolen every year. All of the data inside of it can go into the wrong hands.
If you have an app developed for just your employees, imagine the consequences if some device gets stolen.
To solve this, create an app that does not store data on the user’s device.
If that is not possible, implement a feature that allows you to delete all data from the application at your end. If the device is recovered, you can restore all the data.
However, this is difficult to implement when your app is made for the general population and not just restricted to your employees.
In that case, you can also try not to store any sensitive data on the device. If there is no other option, encrypt your data and reduce the log files.
An app is not going to be made with a single page of code. There will be so much data that it will be hard to keep track of.
If, all of a sudden, some bug pops up, it will be a nightmare to figure out where it came from and how to fix it.
Logging can help in this case.
Your coders will be able to track exactly what happened, what was the cause of the bug, and fix it immediately.
Check the technology you are using for your mobile app development and find out the relevant logging tools available.
Store all of the information while coding and ensure that it can be easily parsed as and when required.
6: Avoid Unnecessary Extensions
Extensions provide such comfort to implement additional features or functionalities on your web server or software language.
But, if these extensions or modules get hacked, then your app is done for.
This does not mean you should not use any extensions at all. But be choosy about the ones you use.
If they are made by any suspicious developer, avoid using them.
Keep only those that are absolutely needed for your app and remove others.
7.Test, Test, & Test Again
Vulnerabilities can pop up at any time and from anywhere. This is why testing is a never-ending process.
According to NodeSource and Sqreen Survey, most developers are not sure about their app’s security. Yet, they take no steps to make it better.
Most app developers are not confident that the third-party modules they are using are vulnerability-free. 40% of them do not even check for vulnerabilities. This is why we advise you to avoid a lot of third-party extensions or modules.
If you really want secure application development, you have to keep testing, just like you do healthy checkups regularly, even though you might not have any diseases at the moment.
To make sure your app is as secure as possible, there is no alternative to constant testing.
8: SSL Certificate
Yes! Even apps require an SSL certificate.
Without it, hackers can enter and manipulate your app.
They can create a fake login page that will divert your users into their den. The users will blame you for this.
A Man In The Middle attack is highly likely to take place if you do not have an SSL certificate.
This is why getting an SSL certificate is unavoidable.
9: Creating A Workspace
If your app is restricted to just your office and employees, you must create a separate mobile workspace for them.
Your employees might install third-party apps that come loaded with malware and viruses.
The malware will snoop around the user’s device and check for places where it can extract data. An office app is the best place for them. They can hack your app as well.
This is why having a separate workspace for your app can prevent other malware from fiddling with your app.
Here are some things you can implement in the workspace.
1: Block Copy Paste
Malware hacks data by copy-pasting it from the app.
Blocking copy-paste can interfere with the user’s personal tasks. So, you can ask for clipboard access to check what data is being leaked and prevent it ASAP.
2: Block Screenshots
device. If the user takes a screenshot of your app, it can leak some sensitive details.
So, block the screenshot functionality in your app.
3: Block Downloads
In some cases, in-app downloads can prove to be very helpful. But, you must know when and where to use that functionality.
Remove it from all sensitive documents. If those have to be downloaded, block the user from uploading them on some random file-sharing websites.
10: Optimize Cache
The cache is the data apps store on the user’s device to improve the functioning of the app.
For example, on a video-sharing platform, if the user plays a video, the data that is downloaded is stored as a cache. When the user returns to the video, the app does not have to download it again as it is stored as a cache.
Similarly, other forms of data can be stored as a cache so that the app does not have to load it again and again.
Hackers, if they get access to the device’s files, can snoop in your app’s cache files and mess around with them.
If your app deals with sensitive data, you can ask for a password or pin every time the user wants to log in, thus reducing vulnerabilities.
Also, implement a feature that wipes cached data after regular intervals, reducing the amount of data that can be leaked.
11: Keep Your Servers Updated
It is easy to ignore the servers when you are just focused on the front end of the app.
But, the servers can also have vulnerabilities if they are not updated regularly.
You do not have to do this manually. There are ways you can automate the update process. Make sure to implement those.
12: Think Like A Hacker
Your thought process would be limited if you just kept thinking from a victim’s perspective.
Start thinking like a crook who wants to obliterate your app.
What will that hacker do?
Where will the hackers strike?
What virus or bug will the hacker implement?
This will open your mind and reveal some vulnerabilities that you could not have figured out by thinking like a victim.
Maybe challenge a person to hack your app before launch. If the person is successful, you have got work to do for secure application development.
13: Stay Updated With Cyber Security Threats
Secure Application Development is a never-ending process. You have to keep checking if there are any new ways hackers are treading on to attack apps and improve your app accordingly.
Social media, forums, and news are some of the places you can look for the latest trends in cyber security.
Never stop learning, as secure application development is a never-ending process.
14: Release Security Patches
With each update of Android and iOS, there are a bunch of vulnerabilities born.
Hackers are waiting like wolves to plunge into these vulnerabilities. If the device is hacked through any of these issues, even your app can get hacked.
If your app is not compatible with the latest system OS, even that can give a chance to hackers. Also, it is very bad when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Once your app is launched, keep releasing security patches regularly.
Look for new threats, as mentioned in the previous point, and ensure you make the necessary improvements to your app.
15: Choose The Right Mobile App Development Team
Without a technical background, it can be difficult for a startup owner to guide your coders regarding these security requirements. It will also be a struggle to check whether what you have asked for has been implemented correctly or not.
This is where hiring an external mobile app development team is going to be a much better choice.
At WDI, we develop feature-packed, aesthetically pleasing, and highly secure mobile apps.
We have a dedicated testing and maintenance team that ensures all apps delivered are vulnerability and bug-free. We ensure that every app is prepared to tackle the latest cyber security threats.
If you choose a reliable development partner like WDI, you get a smooth and stress-free secure application development process.
We will handle the entire development process for you while keeping security at the forefront.
We will take all the stress off your shoulders and deliver you the app of your dreams.
With the right steps, you can ensure secure application development.
Viruses, malware, hackers, etc. are here to stay, just like light and darkness. But, with the right amount of light, you can eliminate all the darkness in your room.
If you follow the above-mentioned steps, your mobile app will be safe from most cyber attacks.
We at WDI can do all of that for you, so you can spend your time and energy on running your business.
All you have to do is have a chat with us, tell us the concept of your app, and we will take it from there.
Let us build something awe-inspiring together.