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Mobile App Security Testing Checklist Every Developer Must Have

June 12th, 2018
Mobile App Security Testing Checklist Every Developer Must Have

Mobile apps have become the ultimate solution for every organization to conduct their businesses. Thus, the usage of mobile apps has been soaring heights in these recent years. While many of the apps perform the function of storing and displaying data, other apps are involved in transmitting some of the sensitive data. However, with higher power come great responsibilities. Thus, it is essential that the organizations safeguard their apps alongside enjoying the tremendous benefits that these apps provide.

app testing

Mobile app security works in an entirely different way than any of the traditional applications. Time is of the essence when it comes to the latest mobile universe. Developers are always in a rush when putting together a mobile app that they sometimes forget to implement the most critical security measures that should be performed.

Thus we have come up with a quick checklist that you could refer to when building your mobile apps.

Penetration Tests

One of the best ways to avoid security risks is by running pen tests on your mobile applications against the various vulnerabilities. Penetration testing includes hacking into the mobile apps and imitating both general and mobile-specific attacks. It also provides replication of the attacker’s action to extract confidential information.

Every device tremendously varies with regards to the features and operating systems. Thus, there are unique challenges that appear when running penetration tests. However, this method shouldn’t be avoided because it is an absolute necessity when it comes to detecting loopholes in a system. If left unseen, these loopholes could grow to become potential threats that give access to the mobile’s data and features.

Source Code Encryption

Almost all the codes in a native mobile app are left on the client’s side. Mobile malware often targets vulnerabilities in the code and design to pose a threat to the mobile applications. Before the attack, the attackers can extract a public copy of the application. They reverse-engineer the application so that the codes could be plundered and malicious codes could be inserted. After which they are further posted on third-party app stores to trick the people who install them.

Furthermore, be extra careful when using codes from third-party libraries. Check the code thoroughly to make sure that it doesn’t have any security flaw. Third-party libraries can be a lifesaver when working on time-consuming projects; however, they can sometimes be extremely insecure for your apps.

Threats like these can take an organization’s reputation downhill. Developers should thus put extreme care when building an app and include tools to detect and close security vulnerabilities. Developers should even make their applications robust against any tampering and reverse-engineering too. Minimisation would make the code harder to interpret; however, they won’t necessarily ensure secrecy. Keeping the codes a secret is of utmost importance, and encryption provides the most efficient and highest security making the code unreadable.

Security of the Device

A mobile application can only remain secure if the phone is secure. Otherwise, when a mobile is ‘rooted’ or ‘jailbroken’, it points at the authentic software restrictions that have been compromised. By making an application ‘risk-aware’, enterprises are given the ability to put a limitation on particular functionalities, sensitive data, and enterprise resources. Moreover, enterprises are asked to not wholly depend on native app development platforms, as these platforms are not always resistant to mobile security threats.

Thus, it is wise to choose intelligent sources and quality application services to keep track of the apps and their associated risks.

Protecting Data in the Transit

Data is always transmitted from clients to servers, and it needs to be protected to keep away from privacy leaks. It might seem like an unimportant task to most of the developers, but it is never a better option to be ignorant when the security of an app is at stake. Using either an SSL or VPN tunnel is highly advisable when you are trying to safeguard the data that is being sent from a client to the server.

A risk-aware transaction should be embraced by the entire organization to restrict risk factors regarding the mobile applications.

File-Level and Database Encryption

The bandwidth and varying connection quality imply the importance of more client-side code and the vast amount of data stored on a device. Unlike desktop applications, mobile applications are required to stay on the device itself. Moreover, this very fact has a significant impact on the security. Most developers design the mobile app in a way that the data is stored in the local file system. However, by default, these can’t encrypt the data and thus leave a major loophole for potential vulnerabilities.

To overcome this, modules that can encrypt the data should be put to use. They can provide file-level encryption and can be very helpful when it comes to amplifying security.

High-Level Authentication

Security breaches usually happen due to the lack of high-level authentication. Authentication refers to passwords and other personal identifiers that are put to act as a hindrance to entry. Only the users with the right identifier can access the information, whereas the others are left out. However, when working as a developer, this mainly depends on the end users. Thus, encouraging the users to grow more sensitive towards authentication would be the best way to avoid security breaches.

Developers should design the apps in such a way that it only accepts strong alphanumerical passwords. Additionally, makes sure that the app makes the user change these passwords in every three or six months. In case of extremely sensitive apps, biometric authentication should be employed such as fingerprints and retina scan.

mobile app

Now that you have the complete checklist of security measures that you should take when developing an app, you would prove to be a sinecure. However, it is advisable that every developer become extra careful, and put all the safety measures to use to make the application as strong as an ox.

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