5 Ways to Build Mobile Apps that Users can TrustCigniti Technologies
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Mobile apps have seen a steady rise in popularity with overall app usage up by 76% in 2014. The category of apps most popular among users are shopping apps and utility apps, both of which handle sensitive user data.
An increased usage of apps increases the risk of malicious attacks. A mobile app security report found that 97 of the top 100 paid Android apps and 87 of the top 100 paid iOS apps were hacked. Among free apps, 80% of popular android apps and 75% of popular iOS apps were hacked.
An app that is easily subject to attacks cannot be expected to be popular among users! Here are a few ways you can ensure security for your app:
- Exercise caution while using borrowed code
In a rush to meet the requirements of intensely competitive app market, app creators are in a hurry to go to market in the shortest time possible. For this reason, many tend to use existing free code available in the web and start customizing it to reduce the hazel of building from scratch. Though there is nothing wrong in doing so, you need to be careful to ensure that there is no malicious code plugged into the code base used. Preferably, using code from a third party source one can trust reduces disasters of malicious plugins. Care should be taken to do a full review of the code before use. It also applies to any third party components your app may use in real time.
- Plan for security
Design your app to be as secure as possible. Critical information like login and credit card information, passwords, personal information should not reside directly on the device. And if they need to, they should be stored securely. Modern encryption algorithms can serve to secure such data.
Physically protecting the app by making it password protected, setting session time-outs and periodically erasing cached data also help to protect data stored in the device. Session time outs and passwords may be inconvenient to users and may decrease app popularity but it is very useful in protecting user information in cases where the phone gets lost or stolen.
- Secure communications to server
Most apps like ecommerce, banking and other utility apps link back to a server. Users may employ a variety of internet connections, secure and insecure, to use your app. Ensure the communication between the app and the server are always secure and data transmitted is not vulnerable to attacks. Make use of encryption and SSL certificates to ensure data is not intercepted during transmission.
- Adequate security testing
While app developers spend a lot of time performing functional testing, security testing is often ignored or saved for the last where it gets compromised due to lack of time. Subject every aspect of your app to adequate security testing to discover hidden vulnerabilities and fix them before release. Limit access to crash and debug logs as these can expose crucial information to hackers.
- Release regular patches
Your responsibility towards keeping your app secure does not end with the release of the app. As hackers use new ways to launch attacks, you need to release periodic security updates to ensure your app does not have any security loopholes.
Insecure mobile apps can mean loss of trust, revenue loss, and brand damage. High risk apps that collect user information or use remote servers to handle data are more susceptible to attacks and hence more attention should be given to making these apps secure.
Mobile security testing from Cigniti Technologies
At Cigniti, security testing forms a critical part of our mobile test strategy. Our security testing is thorough and makes use of reusable test scenarios so that your app is secure and your customers happy. Our tool agnostic test automation frameworks ensure accelerated testing so that you get higher productivity and an enviable time to market. View on-demand version of Joint Webinar on Mobile Testing with Xamarin today.
Cigniti is a Global Leader in Independent Quality Engineering & Software Testing Services with offices in US, UK, India, Australia, and Canada.