android app security

Top Security Measures for Android Application Development

In a world where people lead a digital lifestyle, security of mobile application is one of the most prominent concerns. From transfer of funds to investments, people use mobile apps for a wide range of purposes. Even business houses have integrated personalized apps to strengthen their marketing mix and customer support.

However, malware attacks and ransomware continue to be a threat to the users. A study reveals that over 35% of the communications that mobile devices send are unencrypted. This indicates that over a third of data transmitted by mobile device is exposed to threat.

Particularly, after the first quarter of 2017, ransomware attacks have significantly increased. Besides, a rapid generation of malware in China indicates that soon the mobile devices might face over 20 million dangers.

It is for this reason that reputed Android app developers carry out safety tests regularly, to keep the applications foolproof.

Best Practices for Android App Security

With the alarming frequency and size of loopholes for data security, it is important for business firms to keep their Android apps secure. In this article, you will come across some security features, which can help you bridge the security gaps.

Keep the Native Code Secure

In order to keep the native code secure, Android app developers should use Android SDK for mobile app development, rather than Android NDK. When you collaborate with one of the developers, make sure that the experts use Android SDK.

When the native code is integrated during the development process, the app receives the data over the network. This can also come from files or an IPC, which might be exposed to security factors. Therefore, you should keep the native code secure by using Android SDK during the development process.

High-level Authentication

Most of the developers now count on multi-factor authentication. The sensitive information remains secure through a robust session management and a disconnected system. You should prioritize the importance of setting up the advanced authentication mechanism, using tools like JSON web tokens or OAuth 2.0.

This ensures an additional security in the Android apps. The integrated and secure access gateway makes sure that corporate resources can be accessed by only authorized applications and compliant devices.

Code Obfuscation

During the android app development process, the source code needs to be protected. Therefore, the developers should make it unintelligible for both the decompiler and humans. During the compilation, the entire operation needs to be preserved.

The process of obfuscation gives a code that is impenetrable. It leverages the degree of confidentiality for the intellectual assets and prevents reverse engineering. In the process, it enhances the security of the Android application.

Encrypt the Data

Security in mobile apps involves keeping all kinds of information stored in the device secure. It encompasses the data that is transited between the back-end server and the application as well as the source code.

Excluding certificate pinning confirms the application’s back-end web service. Encrypting the data is one of the most effective security practices for android mobile app security. This will keep important information from being stolen by hackers.

Securing the Server

These days, the server remains vulnerable to the hackers. They often try to attack the API of the server. This indicates that you need to keep the server and API secure to keep away attacks.

You may add a firewall for web applications or conduct code reviews that will help you combat this challenge.

Protect Transit Data

It is important to keep your transit data protected. You need to be proactive with your defense mechanism. For instance, detection of jailbreak must be advanced and the access control needs to be status-based.

Besides, devices that have been declared non-compliant should not be able to get access to corporate data. If you happen to lose a device, or it gets stolen, the entire application containing business data should be deleted.

This ensures that your valuable data does not go to the wrong hands. Selective removal of data enables the IT department or users to wipe off the company data in the devices.

Detection of Code Tamper

During the app development process, it is recommended to integrate anti-tamper mechanisms. The security checklist should include signature verification, anti-virus and activity logs.

This will help you monitor the infected or vulnerable libraries that are added to the source code of your application.

Regular Testing and Updating

A statistic reveals that the majority of Android devices use an Android version that are old by at least two years. This indicates that more than three quarters of the devices are at risk. You should know that hackers exploit the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in software.

When the developer bridges the security breach, the hackers detect other weaknesses. It is not possible for Google to keep down the development of these threats. However, the Android OS is updated from time to time to combat these threats. Another mechanism used in server-side checks is penetration testing.

Confidentiality and Security

As a part of the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), the encryption key should be of at least 128 bits. Reputed app developers use the pinning certificate and the hash key to further bolster the security.

It encompasses the returning of the complete request, which appears as a hashed string along with a secret key. This string is compared by the server with the request that it receives, verifying any modification or change in the process.

Data Storage on Client Side

In case your device is stolen or lost, the information stored in it is exposed to threats. Besides, the device may not be secure, as some users jailbreak or root their smartphones to enjoy additional software and features.

In the process, they lose an important layer of security. Therefore, you should store sensitive data on the server side or client side to prevent permanent loss of data.

Strong Input Validations

Data validation, also referred to as input validation, is the practice through which an input that the user supplies is tested. This prevents any data that is improperly formed to make its way into the information system. You need a powerful input validation to secure the application, no matter what platform it runs on.

Read also: How to Improve Your Mobile App Security Knowledge

Some Additional Guidelines to Keep Your Android App Secure

When you collaborate with a reputed mobile app developer, have a consultation regarding the key security features. Initially, the security mechanism is developed by the experts. From time to time, you need to seek their services to perform the necessary updates and repair the security gaps.

Here are some additional tips that will help you combat security issues:

  • You may depend on the approval of the application store, confirming that a particular app is secure. However, errors do occur at times. You need to try and test them yourself, as the endorsements that the app stores give are not 100% foolproof.
  • You need to be careful, if your app is dependent on the API of another person. Their code has to be secure in order to ensure the safety of your device. Make sure that your application’s API provides access to the parts of the app, which are crucial for limiting the threats.

android app development bannerTo Conclude

Business firms often develop apps at breakneck speed to meet the needs of their operations. In many cases, they fail to detect the security loopholes in the apps.

Now, you are aware of the mechanisms that can help you secure your Android apps. Get across to one of the reputed mobile app developers and make sure to get the latest security features integrated into your application.

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Sumeet Thakkar

With more than a decade of experience, Sumeet Thakkar is a Project Manager at MindInventory. Formerly an Android developer, Sumeet leverages his technical expertise and project management acumen to oversee and deliver cutting-edge projects. His journey from development to management equips him with the skills to efficiently lead teams and ensure project excellence.