Top Android security best practices for app developers
People use mobile apps for everything with their smartphones and tablets from banking to social media. The ease of mobile apps comes with the considerable risk of potential security rupture.
So, app developers need better app security features. App developers can choose Android security best practices but they need to prioritize app security.
Threat modeling is one way to do this. Think ahead regarding possible threats and design security measures to address them. App developers help shield their users’ data and avoid security breaches.
Why app security is essential?
Security is the key reason and essential to protect sensitive data. Your mobile devices store sensitive information. It includes personal data, credit card information, and login identification.
So, it is consequential to protect this information in your device against possible harmful attacks. Security for Android applications is receptive to various types of damaging attacks such as phishing and malware.
Culprits use your sensitive data for identity theft, fraud, and other criminal objectives if it goes into the wrong hands. Keep in mind that data breaches are also lamentable for both users and mobile app developers.
Top 10 Best Practices to Develop Secure Mobile Apps
We will now discuss the best mobile app security practices for Android developers.
Use HTTPS for network connections
The issue with HTTP indicates that data needs to travel across several untrusted entities to reach your servers such as proxies and routers.
These entire entities are capable of seeing transmitted data in plain text because of unencrypted form. Consequently, any of these involved entities can change or obstruct the transmitted data. This is noticeably a massive security issue.
Here is the simple solution; you can use HTTPS rather than HTTP. HTTPS contains HTTP with SSL or TLS protocol. The SSL or TLS element confirms that all transmitted data through the network is encrypted.
So, any of the involved entities are unable to read data. The integrated checks are also performed on the received data. So, it will confirm that any of the involved entities are prevented from changing transmitted data in the pipeline.
Implementation of secure authentication
There is more than one authentication method. Most of them depend on knowledge factors such as traditional passwords. Meanwhile, the two-factor authentication strategy uses an instinctive factor or a possession factor.
The biometric factor is also known as an inherence factor. These are personal characteristics mapped from physical attributes. They include fingerprints authentication using a fingerprint reader. Other commonly used inherence factors include facial and voice recognition.
A location factor refers to a location used for authentication attempts. You can enforce limited authentication attempts to specific devices for distinct locations. Tracking the geographic source for authentication is related to the Internet Protocol address source. It includes GPS data derivative from the user’s mobile phone or other device.
A time factor limits user authorization to a specific time window. It is where logging on is authorized and prevents access to the system outside of that time window.
Use an encryption method
The device encryption enabled on your Android device is quite a truthful procedure. Android application security differs marginally depending on the version. It also relies on the device manufacturing company.
Different OEMs often include distinctive menus and settings options. You can sign up for Microsoft Exchange to access the encryption feature if your device is running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).
The process is simple for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). You just need to enable the lock screen, enter the settings, select security, and tap screen lock. Return to security settings and tap encrypt phone.
Implementing code obfuscation
Obfuscation compresses the name of classes and members resulting in decreased DEX file sizes. The objective is to reduce the names of your app classes, fields, and methods with decreasing app size.
The code obfuscation renames various parts of your code and specific tasks using additional tools such as investigating stack traces. Obfuscation doesn’t eliminate original code from your app, found in apps with DEX files.
Code obfuscation makes stack trace understanding and reading difficult. It rewrites your code and makes it harder for attackers to penetrate and find vulnerabilities. The code obfuscation tools protect the app’s code and keep your information safe.
Use Secure Storage
The faster read and write option is memory or RAM. Your data stays on the RAM if you work but it doesn’t exist in the RAM if your object gets disconnected.
Writing your data to a hard disk is slower than RAM. The key benefit of writing on disk is that it can remain after the termination of your application.
Android offers 4 different types of storage options including shared preference, SQLite, internal storage, and Realm. These options offer the best Android app security for storage.
(a) Shared Preferences: These are a small collection of private or shared key values. It’s simple to root an Android device. You can use “adb” shell to obtain shell access to the device in plain text or an XML file.
(b) SQLite: It is a database on the device and is shipped with Android. A user can obtain root access to the data, but not in plain text or an XML file.
(c) Internal Storage: The third option enables creating a new file called myfile.txt. You can go into the shell to read the data similar to SQLite.
(d) Realm: The realm database stores all of its data on a file and its content is accessible by the root. It is not similar to SQLite.
Note: There is no safe place to store data on disk. You should use encryption to prevent attackers from gaining access to it.
Follow the concept of least privilege
The fundamental of least privilege is a vital concept when it comes to Android app development security best practices. It ensures every module in your app has limited access to resources needed to perform its job.
The least privilege helps reduce the impact of a possible security breach and improves the app’s overall security. You can prevent criminal elements from gaining access to sensitive data or resources with limited access.
Exercise caution with 3rd party libraries
You can exercise caution when using 3rd party libraries to avoid possible security risks in your Android app. It is important to comprehensively test and investigate the code before adding it to your app.
Some 3rd party libraries can posture considerable security threats despite their effectiveness. Developers must use internal repositories to protect their apps from possible library vulnerabilities. They can strictly control and institute policies during the acquisition procedures.
Use of authorized APIs
It is important only to use authorized APIs to prevent unauthorized access and possible involvement of attackers. Poorly coded APIs lack appropriate authorization methods that can accidentally provide privileged access to attackers.
Experts are advised to authorize APIs to enhance security centrally. Caching authorization information locally can demonstrate API calls for developers. It offers establishing an opening for hackers to adventure.
Implementation of regular updates
You should ensure regular updates as it is one of the important Android app development security best practices. Stay with current updates to keep your app protected as security threats are continuously progressing. Regular updates are essential for Android apps security and privacy.
Regular updates can enhance the overall security of your app and prevent possible vulnerabilities. These updates typically offer new features to its users and help keep them bound with your app. It is vital to ensure that your app is constantly updating to confirm the best protection for your data and users.
Testing app for security vulnerabilities
Black-box or zero-knowledge testing is used without the tester having any information about the app. The key objective is to allow a tester to be treated like a real attacker to check possible vulnerabilities.
White-box or full-knowledge testing uses source code, diagrams, and documentation. It is the opposite of black-box testing and enables faster testing with its additional knowledge and transparency.
Gray-box testing uses some information provided to the tester usually credentials only. This type of testing is being used in a number of test cases and is commonly used in the security industry.
Static and dynamic analysis types are also used for vulnerability analysis.
The SAST or Static Application Security Testing precipitates investigating an app’s elements without executing them. It uses the source code either automatically or manually.
The DAST or Dynamic Application Security Testing provokes inspecting the app during runtime. It uses manual or automatic analysis and is a better option to detect different elements.
How can Arhamsoft help?
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Arhamsoft has the best offshore mobile app developers. You will get several benefits when outsourcing mobile app development. Our experts have a wonderful experience in Android app security. We have a reputation for providing better-quality apps. You will get an extensive range of features and benefits.