Business Technology

How to Secure Mobile Apps in 2022 – A Mobile App Security Checklist


Given that there are over 5.5 million apps accessible in the most popular app stores, it is apparent that the mobile app industry has become saturated. Consumers, on the other hand, are not prepared to employ any old application. They are only interested in the greatest. These applications must be attractively designed, provide frictionless navigation, be simple to use, and add value to the user’s experience.

Many users install apps from app stores and utilize mobile applications to access organizational assets or conduct business operations on their smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, many apps come with little or no security protections built into them. They are always at risk of being attacked or having business security policies violated against them.

Enterprise-level security remains among the most challenging puzzles to solve from the previous decade, thanks to various operating systems and the dispersed nature of its components.

The subject of whether mobile applications are safe is one that many organizations and users continue to ignore.

Present-day world, the most popular target for harmful behavior is Mobile applications. As a result, enterprises should take precautions to protect their apps while also reaping the numerous benefits these applications give. This section outlines a mobile app security checklist that you may use while developing your mobile applications.

Enforce Strong Authentication

Multi-factor authentication should be used to prevent unauthorized access and password cracking activities from taking place. The three most essential aspects in authentication are as follows:

  • A password or personal identification number (PIN) 
  • Anything that the user possesses, such as a cell phone
  • Something associated with the user, such as a fingerprint.

When password-based authentication is used in conjunction with a client certificate, device ID, or one-time password, the danger of unauthorized access is considerably decreased. You may also create limits based on the time of day and the user’s location to help avoid fraud.

Evaluate all open source code available for download. Open source and third-party libraries transform the app development and deployment landscape, allowing for faster development and deployment. Open source code can make up to 90 percent of the code in enterprise applications. 

Unfortunately, third-party code has frequently been the source of vulnerabilities, which have allowed attackers to exploit a system’s flaws remotely. As a result, leaving the source code accessible may put your app in danger. It is possible to reverse-engineer open-source software. 

App developers may design an app from the ground up and limit the likelihood of reverse-engineered by utilizing new and secured coding. Furthermore, thorough security testing helps guarantee that the code does not expose the app to vulnerabilities. Moreover, developers must keep updated with the CVE software, which the Center for Internet Security maintains.

Optimizing Data Caching

To improve the speed of an application, mobile devices frequently store cached data. This makes the device more susceptible since attackers may simply penetrate and decrypt the cache data to steal the user’s account information.

For sensitive data that your app saves, requiring a password to access the program can help to mitigate risks related to cached information.

Cache-related mobile application security issues are reduced further by immediately erasing cache data every time the device is rebooted or when the user enters over a private network.

Perform an extensive QA and security check

Before every deployment, your application should be tested against a set of random security scenarios. Pen testing, in particular, may help you avoid security risks and vulnerabilities in your mobile applications. Identifying and fixing systemic flaws is a fundamental requirement. Because these flaws can potentially develop into significant risks that provide access to mobile data and functions, they should be addressed immediately.

Patch App and Operating System Vulnerabilities

Android and iOS vulnerabilities like Stagefright and XcodeGhost have previously been discovered, putting mobile users at attack risk.

In addition to dealing with faults in mobile operating systems, IT must deal with a never-ending stream of app updates and fixes.

Development companies should monitor mobile devices and ensure that the most recent patches and upgrades have been deployed to safeguard mobile users from attack, according to the report.

Utilize strong data encryption 

Utilize vital data encryption According to the report,  matter how hard you work on safeguarding the code, you must be equally cautious when protecting the data. All app data must be encrypted at all times. Remove any plain-text resources from the application so that it is hard to acquire information about the program. 

However, to provide the best possible protection, you should use a combination of security methods and encrypt data at all levels. Furthermore, this comprises factors relating to the device, the network, the data, database access, etc.

Embrace New Cryptography Techniques

Even the most widely used cryptographic algorithms, such as MD5 and SHA1, are frequently insufficient to fulfil the ever-increasing demands for security. As a result, it is critical to stay up to speed with the newest security algorithms and, if feasible, to employ contemporary encryption methods such as AES with 512-bit encryption, 256-bit encryption, and SHA-256 hashing, among others. 

Additionally, you should undertake manual penetration testing and threat modelling on your apps before releasing them to the public to guarantee that they are entirely secure.

Minimize sensitive data storage

Developers choose to store sensitive data in the device’s local memory rather than on its hard drive to keep it safe from users. However, it is best to avoid keeping sensitive data because it may raise the risk of data theft or unauthorized access. 

If you have no other choice but to store the data, it is preferable to utilize encrypted data containers or it is critical to protect chains of the information. Ensure to include an auto-delete function, which will automatically erase data after a predetermined time, to reduce the log’s size further.

Enable remote data wiping and device lockout.

App developers should ensure that user-level application policies are developed and implemented before releasing their applications. Consequently, the user’s data is safeguarded due to the restrictions placed on access to apps in several ways. Among them are features like the ability to remotely wipe the app data after a certain number of erroneous password attempts, disallowing sequential numbers in passwords, and necessitating unusual characters in passwords. 

As a consent locally the app should prevent data from being sent outside of the app. For example, it should not be permitted to copy or distribute sensitive information for unlawful external use. Furthermore, any data that has been copied to the clipboard should be deleted when the program is running in the background.

For apps from payment service providers, when a user signs out of an app, all user data such as passwords and account information must be deleted. If there is evidence of malicious activity, the app should be required to shut down until it is resolved.

Final thoughts

With the increased likelihood of criminal activity, mobile app security problems have become a top priority for developers to consider. As a result, consumers are apprehensive about installing untrustworthy applications. You may rest assured that the recommended practices outlined above will address your concerns about developing a safe mobile application for your consumers.

Businesses today are waging a multi-front war to protect their apps and infrastructures from cyberattacks. It is vital to stay on top of the latest developments when it comes to corporate application security. This checklist is intended to serve as a starting point for your organization’s investigation into mobile application vulnerabilities.