As the development of mobile apps climbs, the need for security continues to grow. A number of security issues in the past few years have put both users and developers on edge, including the widely known Heartbleed bug from back in 2014. Building a mobile application is quite different from building a web or desktop app, especially in terms of security. That is why it is of the utmost importance that developers use the proper tools and procedures to ensure security in their mobile apps.
Mobile security cannot be addressed once the app is ready to be publicly launched. From its very inception, security needs to be planned out and checked in every part of the mobile app’s lifecycle. That said, here are a few elements that ought to be considered to help you implement best practices with your application security:
Source code encryption. In order to ensure a smooth user experience in native mobile apps, the source code must reside within the device. If your code is encrypted, then your app is safe. If not, then all you really need is one user with the right skills and a dangerous attitude to undo what you have built.
Database & file encryption. Just like your app’s source code, the product’s database and files need to be encrypted. Much of this information is saved in the user’s device either for a few days or permanently. iTexico’s partner Appcelerator has come up with a great solution for this. Their product, Appcelerator SQLite Encryption Module, can help other tools like SQLite Database to fully encrypt your app’s database and files. That way, you won’t have to interrupt a smooth UX, but still can safeguard user privacy.
The hidden dangers of BYOD. In an increasingly connected world, working cultures allow for employees to have more freedom while still fulfilling their work tasks. They can work remotely from another geographical location (such as their home) or use their own devices. However, some of your data may be leaked before your app is released or updated. That is why there are several products like MobileIron or Airwatch that run a safe environment in your employees’ mobile devices in which they can test and build your mobile app. Make sure to either utilize these safety nets in your employees’ devices, or have a strict policy on app testing and usage.
Live data. Once users are interacting with your app, there is a constant exchange of life data. Make sure data transit is safe via SSL or any other secure protocol you deem necessary. Make sure to constantly monitor traffic flowing between your app and its web server; you may manually find pain points that need fixing.
When it comes to mobile app development, there’s no denying the potential security risks and vulnerabilities presented. With the aforementioned factors in mind, it’s advisable to have a backup plan should any security barriers be breached. By the same token, always be on the look out for updates, or vulnerabilities that may be affecting the tools you use. Most importantly, have a security expert run the show.