7 min read

Importance of Mobile Application Security

In terms of app installs, India is by far the largest market in the world. India’s app market has more than 28,456 Indian publishers on Play Store, making it the most popular in the world in terms of installs. As the market grows, it’s critical to keep up with current trends and new developments that can help you develop a marketing strategy.

Nowadays, from a 3-year-old child to an 80-year-old guy, everyone uses smartphones, and they install many apps on a normal basis and few of them could be unsecured. These unsecured apps could snatch the data from the device’s file storage as well as from other apps.

Recently, the Indian government has banned 54 Chinese app’s which were unsecured for use.

Can you guess the reason?

Yes, you guessed it correctly, It’s security and privacy concerns.

The Information Technology Ministry has issued interim instructions for the blocking of 54 apps, including Tencent Xriver, Nice Video baidu, Viva Video Editor, and gaming app etc. Condemning that, The Chinese apps allegedly obtain various critical permissions and collect sensitive user data. The collected real-time data is being abused and sent to servers in a hostile country.

Over the last few years, online payment services such as Google Pay, Paytm, and PhonePe have grown in popularity. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has made it simple for users to send money, and it has increased our reliance on these services.

As they have grown, Hackers have devised several methods for breaking into people’s accounts and stealing money. Due to the increased number of UPI scams, so many people have lost hundreds or thousands of rupees.

As an app developer, we should always keep a practice to follow the ways to keep our app highly secured as possible.

Here are the best practices to keep the apps secure:

Data/code Encryption

Encryption is the process of scrambling plain text until it becomes a jumbled alphabet soup that only those with the decryption key or password can read it. Data encryption translates data into another form, or code.

Encryption is currently one of the most popular and effective data security methods used by businesses. If you’re storing any data (should never store password on the front-end) on the device, it should be stored in encrypted format.
Coming to the source code, always use Latest Cryptography techniques to encrypt it to defend your application from the attacks. Mobile malware can easily track bugs and vulnerabilities in the source code and design because most of the code in a native mobile app is client-side.

Reverse-engineering is commonly used by attackers to repackage well-known apps into rogue apps. They then upload those apps to third-party app stores to attract unsuspecting users. Developers should ensure that their applications are robust enough to prevent any tampering and reverse engineering attacks and should include tools to detect and address security flaws.

High-level Authentication

User authentication is a method of preventing unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data.

Organizations must realize that passwords aren’t the only way to verify a user’s identity. There are many more robust different authentication technologies available, as well as a wide range of activities that require authentication.

Different types of user authentication technologies are in high demand for both online and in physical systems.

The following is a list of some of the most commonplace authentication strategies used to protect modern-day systems/products:

  • Password-based authentication
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Certificate-based authentication
  • Biometric authentication
  • Token-based authentication

Secure the Backend

Application is divided as Frontend and Backend. The frontend is client-side; it is the part with which the user interacts. Whereas the backend is server-side, stores the data, how the application works, applies the business logic, changes, and updates, so Back end needs to be secured properly.

Backend stores and provides the data whenever your frontend application asks for any information to show, sends an update request based on user interaction, and so on. These requests must be secured. Also, the data present in the request payload and response payload must be in encrypted format unless it’s reached the back-end server and front-end respectively.

For instance, to get the Aadhar card details from the UIDAI website, you must enter your Aadhar number or enrolment number, your mobile number, and the OTP. In that call made to the backend should retrieve only required data. Obtaining unnecessary data will assist hackers in recovering it using hacking techniques.

Penetration testing

Penetration testing inspects an app’s known flaws. The task is to find potential weaknesses in the application that an attacker could exploit to compromise its security. It entails looking for things like a poor password policy, unencrypted data, authorizations to third-party apps, and a lack of a password expiry protocol, among other things. To keep the app secure, penetration testing should be done regularly.

Ideal Architecture

We must consider security first, regardless of the architecture we use. The first thing to think about is whether the app will be sold in a store or distributed through the company’s distribution network. Applications distributed by private carriers are less vulnerable to reverse engineering threats.

In mobile app vulnerability management concepts, most secure software development principles are considered. For mobile app development, native, hybrid, and pure web-based architectural options are available. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages, requiring one to choose between security and performance.

Minimal App permissions.

Applications with more permissions have more freedom and power to operate more efficiently at the same time allowing unneeded permissions will result in a slew of problems. They easily expose apps to hacker attacks. Permission requests outside of the application’s functional area should be avoided at all costs. Instead of recycling old libraries, developers should create new ones that seek permission selectively.

Carry out session logout

Users frequently forget to log out from the application they are using, or they don’t visit the applications for a month or 20 days. In such cases, there is a risk that someone will gain access to sensitive information stored on your devices.

If the app is a banking or payment app then it becomes even more dangerous. Usually, payment apps tend to end a user’s session after a certain period of inactivity or on every logout.

Enforcing the Session logout prevents a hacker from accessing your sensitive data from an app or device if it hasn’t been used for a certain period.

How Impelsys can support the businesses with application security development expertise

Impelsys has a dedicated team of experts as part of penetration testing. They ensure the security of an app by testing it against a variety of scenarios, tools, and hacking techniques before it gets released.

In Impelsys, we take care of these practices (plus other recommended practices) right from the initial phase of application development.

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Looking for an Expert Team that can help you bring your vision to life? That’s exactly what our team of ideators, business consultants, architects and engineers have done for our clients over the years. Leveraging over 20 years of rich technology experience, Impelsys is diligently creating technology solutions with our tried-and-tested digital transformation approach and application engineering expertise to drive business growth across industry verticals. To learn more, visit Impelsys or write to us at marketing@impelsys.com to get started.

Authored by –

Meet Sorathia
Software Engineer, Tech Services.