Mobile application development, how to ensure the security of Android and iOS applications?

In the past 10 years, we have witnessed the rapid development of mobile application development, but cybercrime has always followed. In fact, most apps may have potential security risks.

Statistics show that 89% of popular applications are counterfeit, and 98% of the top 10 applications in 18 industries have vulnerabilities. Once these vulnerabilities are exploited, they will have a great impact on developers and users.

In this article, we will further explore what basic mobile application security practices should be implemented after development

1. The main risks of mobile application security

Weak server-side controls

Outside of mobile devices, communication between applications and users is carried out through servers. These servers are the main targets of hackers all over the world. The main reason behind server vulnerabilities is that sometimes developers overlook the necessary server-side security. consider.

Due to the lack of security considerations for mobile applications, insufficient budget for security protection, system differences, etc., security vulnerabilities may be caused. Scan applications through automated vulnerability scanning tools to identify as many vulnerabilities as possible and fix them in time.

Through this method, many common problems and bugs can be found and solved.

Lack of binary protection

This is also one of the main security issues that OWASP applications need to solve, because if a mobile application lacks binary protection, any hacker or adversary can easily use the decompiler tool to insert advertising code and related configuration into the application, and they can also Third-party application markets and forums re-publish pirated applications.

This behavior will not only cause data leakage, endanger the interests of products and users, but also affect the company’s brand reputation. To avoid this, it is important to deploy a binary hardening process.

Under binary hardening, binary files will be analyzed and modified accordingly to protect them from common mobile application security threats, which allows fixing vulnerabilities in the legacy code itself without the need for source code.

The application should also follow the secure coding technology of jailbreak detection control, checksum control, certificate lock control and debugger detection control

Data storage security

Another common mobile application security vulnerability is the lack of a secure data storage system. Developers usually rely on client storage to obtain internal data. However, when competitors obtain mobile devices, these internal data can be easily accessed, used, or manipulate.

This can lead to identity theft, reputation damage, and external policy violations (PCI). The best way to protect data storage across platforms is to build an additional layer of encryption through the basic level of encryption provided by the operating system.

This greatly improves data security. And reduce the dependence on the default encryption.

Insufficient transport layer protection

The transport layer is the way for data transmission between the client and the server. If appropriate mobile application security standards are not introduced at this time, any hacker can access internal data, steal or modify it, which will lead to threats such as identity theft and fraud .

In order to strengthen the transport layer security, you can add SSL fixation to iOS and Android applications. In addition, industry standard cipher suites can also be used instead of conventional cipher suites.

Due to the mixed SSL session, in order to avoid exposing the user’s session ID, when the application runs the routine through the browser/webkit, it is necessary to use the SSL version of the third-party analysis company, social network, etc.

Data leakage

When critical mobile applications are stored in vulnerable locations on mobile devices, accidental data leakage occurs.

For example: an application is stored in a place that can be accessed by other applications or devices, which will eventually lead to data leakage and unauthorized data use of the application.

Monitor common data leakage points, such as logs, application background, cache, local storage, etc. After understanding the main risks that plague mobile applications and some of the best mobile application security incidents that need to be followed to avoid risks, let us continue to discuss the details of Android and iOS mobile application security.

2. How to ensure the security of Android applications

Encrypt externally stored data

Generally speaking, the internal storage capacity of the device is limited.

This defect usually forces users to use external devices, such as hard drives and flash drives, to ensure data security, which sometimes contains sensitive and confidential data.

Since data stored on an external storage device can be easily accessed by all applications on the device, it is very important to save data in an encrypted format. One of the most widely used encryption algorithms for mobile application developers is AES (Advanced Encryption Standard).

Use internal storage for sensitive data

All Android applications have an internal storage directory, and the files stored in this directory are very safe because they use the MODE_PRIVATE mode to create files.

Simply put, this mode ensures that the files of a particular application will not be accessed by other applications stored on the device.

Therefore, it is one of the best practices for mobile application authentication.

Use HTTPS

The communication between the application and the server should be through an HTTPS connection. A large number of Android users often connect to open WiFi networks in multiple public areas. Using HTTP instead of HTTPS makes the device vulnerable to many malicious hotspots, which can easily change HTTP The content of the traffic makes the application of the device abnormal.

Other major security best practices for mobile application development include: validating user input and avoiding the use of personal data and ProGuard before releasing the application

3. How to make iOS application safe data storage

In order to greatly simplify the architecture of the application and improve its security, the best way is to store the application data in memory instead of writing it to disk or sending it to a remote server.

Although storing data locally is the only way, there are multiple options:

  • Keychain: The best place to store small amounts of sensitive data without frequent access is the keychain. The data stored in the key chain is managed by the operating system and cannot be accessed by any other application.
  • Caching: If your data does not need to be backed up on iCloud or iTunes, then you can store the data in the cache directory of the application sandbox.
  • Default system: The default system is a convenient way to store large amounts of data.

1). Cyber ​​Security

Apple is known for its security and privacy policies, and it has been working to achieve this level for many years.

A few years ago, Apple introduced App Transport Security, which forces third-party mobile applications to send network requests over a more secure connection (such as HTTPS)

2). Security of Sensitive Information

Most mobile applications use sensitive user data such as address book, location, etc. However, as a developer, you need to make sure that all the information that is required to access the user must be accessed, and more importantly, how to store this information.

If the required information can be accessed through the native framework, then copying and storing the information is redundant.

3). Challenges in the practice of mobile application security

Records indicate that if adequate measures are not taken to protect mobile applications from external malware attacks, mobile applications will become vulnerable. If the mobile application security test is not completed as required, the following challenges may arise at any time.

4). Fragmentation of equipment

There are some basic procedures that must be followed before an application can be released in an application store.

It is necessary to introduce a variety of devices covering different resolutions, functions, features, and limitations in the mobile application testing strategy. Detecting specific vulnerabilities of the device can allow application developers to take a step ahead in application security measures.

Not only the device, but also the different versions of popular operating systems are an important step to cover all possible vulnerabilities before the application is released

5). Weak encryption

In the case of weak encryption, mobile devices can easily accept data from any available device.

Malware attackers are always looking for open ends in public mobile devices. If you don’t strictly follow the encryption process, your application can become open ends. Therefore, devoting energy to strong encryption is also one of the best ways to make anti-hacker mobile applications.

6). Weak managed controls

This mainly occurs during the development of the company’s first mobile application, which usually exposes the data to the server-side system.

Therefore, the server used to host the application must have adequate application security measures to prevent any unauthorized users from accessing important data.

Through the security audit of mobile applications, a variety of methods can be used to defend against attacks from unknown sources. In the open digital world, no user can be protected from malware and security vulnerabilities, but these measures can protect the security of personal data on mobile devices to the greatest extent.

What do you think about the security of mobile app development code and data? How much security is necessary for app development? Everyone is welcome to come to discuss

56Tech is the leader of the domestic low-code development platform and the explorer of the efficiency revolution. 56Tech has evolved from mobile development to a low-code development platform. 56Tech is committed to providing app customization and enterprise digital services for various industries. Call us for consultation: 400 186 0061(China), send an email to: lynn.li@dreamlot.

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