Security remains a top priority when it comes to mobile devices and applications. Based on the commissioned study by WeBroot, mobile tech security is vital to companies implementing the bring your own device (BYOD) schemes at work. But, even regular consumers should be wary of their safety every time they access apps, especially when they make transactions. Most premium handsets featured by O2 are now built with the latest biometric sensors and fingerprint scanners. The next generation biometric sensor, the iris scanner, is on its way too by next year, which is said to take security to another level for consumers worried about cyber safety.
But, even with new security features on handsets, it will not guarantee safety for app users unless the app developers are conscious of this functionality. Here are the most common app security mistakes you need to avoid to guarantee success when designing apps:
No Weak Password Indicator
The most common cause of a security breach is a poor password. Although there are some end-users with poor security habits, your application can at least encourage them with some relatively secure passwords.
Your mobile application must request the user to choose a strong alphanumeric password, consisting of at least eight characters that are unrelated to the user’s name. It’s ok to suggest a long string of memorable words (like applesecretorangeeight) as a password than a complex one with several icons (like xr2%f8Gp).
No mobile data encryption
Surprisingly, an amount of mobile applications on the market come without any form of encryption. Users aren’t aware of how the complexities of the process, thus their data can be breached at any time. Mobile applications require sensitive data that passes from the application to the server of the developer and vice versa. This process is a potential weak point, which many hackers commonly exploit. Often, it’s the apps with no encryption protocols that are attacked by cyber criminals.
Thus, it’s important to add a form of implemented encryption, such as the popular Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Take note that encryption protocols must be applied across all stages, from data in-rest to the data in-motion.
Using untrusted third-party code
For those who program for a living, they rarely build their application from scratch. Often, they develop apps from a pastiche of proprietary code that they or their team created, accompanied with an open source third-party software to perform critical functions. These services can range from graphical interface elements to encryption and user authentication.
However, third-party services are poorly managed and its open source features make it susceptible to hackers. Although developing apps from scratch is the best option, it’ll often take developers longer to finish a project. If there’s no option but to use third-party software, then ensure its reliability through recent reviews from clients.
Saving user data in the device memory
Avoid the common mistake of storing crucial data and information of the user in their mobile device’s memory. Often, the user’s personal information, encryption keys, as well as payment details are stored locally, which presents a real issue when the smartphone or tablet falls into the wrong hands. This gets worse when the local storage is shared with other apps.
As much as possible, stay away from storing any form of data in the device’s memory, and instead, only access pertinent information when the user logs into their application. Make sure there’s a code to erase all data once they logout.
For beginners, there are many resources out there that can be very helpful at the start of your programming journey. It might help to check out some iOS app templates to get you started on your mission.