10 Common Security Issues Every App Developer Should Know About
Thousands of mobile applications are being downloaded and used by users every day. Although there is nothing wrong about that, it’s just that hackers are always looking to find loopholes to take advantage of this rising engagement in the use of mobile apps. The popularity of mobile apps has unfortunately attracted dangers and security threats.
Mobile App Security Threats
Let’s accept it. Mobile applications are the favorite targets of hackers and data thieves. It seems that almost all sorts of malware entities are created to attack mobile apps.
For instance, there was a wave of malware that hit many of the biggest Australian banking apps. One malware entity imitated the home screen of a certain banking app with an aim to collect the user’s sensitive data, while another one had the ability to bypass the newest 2FA security layer. Having said that, it’s probably safe to assume that security breaches aren’t coming to a halt anytime soon.
To prevent future attacks, proactive measures should be taken. Start by identifying the common security issues that exist today.
Security Issue #1: Vulnerable Data Storage
Apparently, a hacker would first want to attack the data storage of a mobile device by releasing an infected application. So, if you are an app developer, you should not let any aspect of your app unattended, especially data storage. Simply said, you have to secure your app’s storage space so as not to entice hackers to try and hack your user’s device.
To prevent data breaches, a developer must move its storage options to a secure cloud platform or use data encryption protocols instead.
Security Issue #2: Little to No Data Encryption
When we talk about encryption, developers seem to be too confident. They don’t really give importance to the fact that users provide sensitive information on their smartphones. When this information is not encrypted, it will be easier for hackers to crack it.
Yes, encrypting data is extremely crucial, but it is usually overlooked. Many mobile app developers fail to implement systems where sensitive information, such as credit card details and passwords, is not stored on the device. They don’t design apps in a manner that protects user data.
Security Issue #3: Delayed Log-Out Sessions
A delayed log-out session may attract security breaches, which may eventually result in various types of cyberattacks. Also called an incomplete log-out session, it is most likely to occur when an account is already logged out of but remains active on the app’s server. This security problem can be easily resolved by fixing the issues that cause delays in a log-out session.
Security Issue #4: An Insecure Entry Point
Some mobile applications are designed in a way that developers need to allow data input from an external source. Attackers can take advantage of this process and inject malicious codes into an app.
With the lack of a secure authentication process, a hacker can easily bypass a mobile application’s access controls. To ensure that there are no unauthorized entries in the mobile app, developers must create a validation system that requires a secure authentication of data.
Security Issue #5: Jailbroken Device Vulnerability
To install a third-party application, especially on iOS devices, owners opt for jailbreaking. But most of the third-party apps that require rooting come with malicious codes that wreak havoc to a mobile device.
In most cases, malware entities do not just infect the mobile device itself. They also attack other devices that are connected on the same network.
To avoid this issue, developers must make their mobile apps “risk aware,” which means they have to be programmed to detect jailbroken or rooted devices and restrict users from running sensitive actions.
Security Issue #6: Data Cache Vulnerability
Caching might already be an old concept used to speed up processes. However, it’s still in use today. The only problem is that the cached data used on mobile devices are stored for a long period of time.
Because of this prolonged caching, a mobile app or the device itself becomes vulnerable to security threats. While users can delete caches by installing Android care apps or by reading PC repair tips and tricks, prevention starts at the developer’s side.
To reduce the risks of caching issues, caching has to be designed in such a way that cached data is deleted every time the device reboots.
Security Issue #7: Reverse Engineering
Reverse engineering is still one of the most popular ways to hack an app. Despite its popularity, many developers are not doing much about it. Through reverse engineering, hackers can easily dissect an application and reverse engineer the code according to their needs. The only way to overcome this issue is to build an app in a secure environment. Also, keeping access to that environment to a minimum helps.
Security Issue #8: Delayed Security Patches
Developing an app and launching it into the App Store does not mean the developer’s job is over. In reality, the actual development phase starts as soon as the app is launched on the market. Developers can come across different security vulnerabilities and a number of bugs that may affect the experience of users.
To make it hard for hackers to find security loopholes and exploit them, mobile app developers must perform regular app analysis and release security patches that aim to fix reported bugs and issues.
Security Issue #9: Weak Encryption
Sometimes, developers use encryption algorithms on their apps. However, the algorithms they use are no longer efficient when it comes to security. With weak encryption, it will be easier for hackers to break into mobile apps.
As a protective measure, developers must implement high-level to advanced encryption algorithms, such as AES 256-bit encryption.
Security Issue #10: Unnecessary Permission Requests
Most apps nowadays require unnecessary permissions to access a mobile device’s features. These permissions provide more opportunity for hackers to gain access to sensitive information. Developers must learn to limit these permissions and make sure to grant access to components that are really needed.
To ensure the security of a mobile app, developers must be completely aware of the security issues that exist. With awareness come possible solutions.
A Computer Engineer by degree and a writer by profession, Cathy Trimidal writes for Software Tested and Outbyte. For years now, she has contributed articles focusing on the trends in IT, VPN, web apps, SEO, and digital marketing. Although she spends most of her days living in a virtual realm, she still finds time to satisfy her infinite list of interests.