With increased usage of mobiles and mobile applications, malicious elements are more active than before, and users, as well as developers, have roles to address data privacy and mobile application security problems right from the beginning to the entire lifecycle of the app.
The mobile device is the next thing that an average human is looking for after awakening in the morning and the hands before going to bed at night. The reliance of modern human civilization on the mobiles is increasing with the advent of use-cases and capabilities of handheld (Mobile) devices and their applications (Apps) by-and-large.
People use mobiles and their apps in a variety of ways right from listening sweet songs, playing immersive games to accomplish a big transaction for an ardent shopping. These all activities need exchanges of personal to financial, and professional data through various apps and browsers.
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The majority of users believe in reaping the cloying fruits of mobile applications and hardly have guts to think of their data security. Albeit, a big portion of mobile users is tech-savvy and aware of data privacy and app security like sensitive concerns. Unfortunately, mere worrying about privacy and security of data hardly proves meaningful. Instead, they should have clear concepts regarding those concerns.
For example, they should have complete knowledge of the malicious intentions of hackers, thieves, alike people who eye user data.
Types & Nature of Malicious Intentions
Let’s take a glance at those malicious intentions:
- Inject malware into mobile devices & apps to access various data, keystrokes, and passwords.
- Tamper the app code and do reverse engineering
- Intercepting data exchanges via Wi-Fi like insecure connectivity.
- Data theft like IDs and personal info to sell or use in fraudulent activities.
- Modify ownership of IP (Intellectual Property) and private assets.
- Compromise app back-end and attached services, servers, and APIs.
How to Secure App & Data Privacy
A mobile application is an amalgamation of programming code with front-end design, back-end business logic, and network as well as tons of other things in modern high-tech apps. For instance, databases, APIs, plugins, extensions, components, and so on.In fact, the role of users is very little in building or strengthening app & its data while much should bear by the app development team during and after the app development process. Let’s see that how users can take part in app & data security.
Must Buy High-end Secure Devices
Users must use standard and quality mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to get device level (Client-side) built-in security features. In this regard, I highly recommend iOS devices, but many Android devices come with complete security measures.
Moreover, temptations for jailbroken or rooted devices is dangerous because it averts the all built-in security measures infused by the manufacturers and makes the devices highly vulnerable.
Should Have Secure OS (Operating System)
Most of the standard mobile OS have enough security and privacy features, but the latest versions mostly come with the patches and various security tools to make the devices more secure. For instance, screen lock password on the biometric system like fingerprints avoids password theft and misuse of the device after stealing.
Downloads from Trusted Sources
Many utility and standard apps are available in the multiple marketplaces and sources. Therefore, chances remain high to get the tampered source code with malware, viruses, and various injections integrations to pose mild to severe threats to app security and data exchanges.
Thus, the best way is to download apps and other resources from the trusted sources only.
Go for Secure Connectivity
Mobiles are always prone to connectivity vulnerabilities because of its multiple modes of connectivity such as cellular connectivity including 2G/3G, and LTE through a cellular network operated by third-party providers and the latest connectivity options like Wi-Fi, satellite, NFD, Bluetooth, and so on.
Therefore, users should the highly secure modes of connectivity and tested providers. Using public Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and similar options may put them in some dangerous situations.
Tips for BYOD Users
The majority of enterprises and organizations have adopted BYOD (Bring Your Device) concept for their digital users for the sake of convenience and comforts of employees, customers, and other app users. It needs some extra security precautions than individual app users or organizations, which can afford single platform devices and connectivity.
- Enterprises/organizations must invest in MDM (Mobile Devices Management) solutions including MobileIron and Airwatch.
- Use dedicated or VPN like secure connections in the organization against other more vulnerable modes of connectivity.
- Strengthen the authentication and authorization system to block unauthenticated devices and users.
- To secure the connections, devices, and applications (Including mobiles), use standard tools and technologies like firewalls, antivirus software, and anti-spam software.
- Use ‘Risk Aware’ devices to block malicious activities upfront or get instant and notifications/alerts in real-time to alert users.
- Use ‘Remote Wipe’ features to wipe the sensitive data off immediately devices found lost, stolen, or in the hands of unauthorized/untrusted hands.
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Apart from the users, developers also should take appropriate steps to beat the safety and security threats to the app, its data, and data exchanges. Some of those measures following are significant like:
- Security of mobile application code through the ground up measures such as:
- Encryption of code, encryption of APIs, minification, and obfuscation of code.
- Frequent source code scanning through the latest code and memory scanners.
- Hardening code must not hindrance user experiences, portability, and come into the way of app marketplace approval processes.
- Secure connectivity on the back-end when data exchanges take place in between servers of web services, servers of the cloud system, and micro-connections including Bluetooth and NFD modes of connectivity by taking appropriate security measures like:
- Penetration testing
- VPN, SSL, TLS level security measures
- Take strong identification, authentication, and authorization measures to bring additional security layers through following measures:
- Use only reliable and manageable APIs.
- Use gold-standard protocol like OAuth2 to manage the security of connection with tokenization system.
- Use JSON like lightweight web tokens for mobile security.
- Use OpenID Connect like federation protocols for mobile usages.
- Secure data through various data security measures including data encryption like:
- File and database level encryption.
- Try to avoid permanent storage of sensitive data on mobile devices by taking help of cloud and Keychain Note like safe places.
- Take strong Key management for encryption keys.
Thus, the role of mobile application users is undeniably significant, and precautions described in the current post may serve the purpose. With a solid mobile security strategy and the role of the top-notch mobile app developer is major and more demanding than the users’ participation.
Therefore, selection of a right team of mobile app development with knacks in app security and data privacy is vital for quality conscious and user-centric business or organization. SysBunny is one of the dependable team in the USA to help you in this regard.
Hemant Parmar is a veteran mobile app consultant. He is co-founder of the company. Thanks to his prolonged exposure to mobile application development projects for myriads of niches and industries, he is capable of providing high-end mobile app development consultancy. He is devoted to providing honest and transparent consultancy services for clienteles looking for righteous guidance to augment their niche services/products using the latest mobile technologies.