Put Safety First, Not Last, in Mobile App Development
Mobile app safety should be a priority during app development. Building security measures into the app from the beginning saves developers and businesses time and effort to fix security vulnerabilities or privacy concerns later.
An expert mobile app development agency in Chicago reveals strategies to put safety first in app development:
- Encrypting source code
- Securing data-in-transit
- Using file-level and database encryption
- Adapting the latest cryptography strategies
- Minimizing sensitive data storage
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Encrypting Source Code
Despite changing mobile app development trends, safety remains a priority for all developers. One of the ways to ensure app safety during the development process is through source code encryption.
Encrypting source code means converting it into an unreadable form that requires keys for humans to read. Encryption algorithms encode the source code so only authorized users can access it. This protects the mobile app from malicious attacks and unauthorized access.
Some industries, such as healthcare and finance, are subject to strict data security regulations. Encrypting a mobile app's source code can help ensure compliance with these regulations.
Mobile app developers use various techniques to encrypt the source code of their apps and enhance security. Here are some of them:
- Obfuscation: making codes obscure, unclear, or unintelligible, therefore making them difficult to reverse-engineer.
- Code minification: removing whitespace, comments, and other unnecessary characters from the code to reduce its size and make it harder to read.
- Encryption/API encryption: using algorithms to make codes unreadable to unauthorized users and to protect the app from attackers who try to intercept and modify data transmitted between the app and the server.
- Secure communication protocols: use of protocols like HTTPS
Securing data-in-transit protects data while it is transmitted from one location to another, such as between a mobile app and a server. It involves encryption and other security measures to ensure that unauthorized parties cannot intercept, modify, or steal data.
If data transmission lacks proper security measures, attackers can modify the data in transit, leading to compromised user accounts, fraudulent transactions, and compromised app functionality.
Mobile app developers use a variety of techniques to optimize mobile apps and secure data in transit, such as the following:
- Using Transport Layer Security (TLS) for encryption and authentication of data transmitted over the internet.
- Preventing man-in-the-middle attacks with certificate pinning to ensure the app is communicating with the intended server and not a malicious one.
- Applying Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide an additional form of authentication, like a one-time password or a fingerprint scan, along with their username and password.
- Securing data with Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to manage digital certificates and public-key encryption.
Using File-Level and Database Encryption
File-level and database encryption protect sensitive data stored on the device. It involves encrypting the data at the file or database level to make it unreadable and unusable. File-level encryption encodes individual files such as user data, configuration files, and application resources.
Database encryption involves enciphering the entire database used by the mobile app to store user data. This protects data in the event of server hacking or theft. Non-encrypted sensitive data may fall into the wrong hands, leading to identity theft, financial fraud, or other malicious purposes.
Mobile app developers use file-level and database encryption to ensure security for various types of mobile apps. Here are the different encryption techniques explained:
- File-Level Encryption: Encrypt sensitive files on the device, such as user data, configuration files, and application resources. It converts the file into an unreadable format using an encryption algorithm and a secret key.
- Database Encryption: Encrypt the entire database used by the mobile app to store user data. Database encryption also converts data into an unreadable format using an encryption algorithm and a secret key.
- Key Management: Ensure the keys are adequately protected and kept in a secure location. Access keys are regularly rotated to keep them safe.
- Authentication and Access Control: Ensures only authorized users can access the encrypted data, including requiring a password, PIN, or biometric authentication.
Adapting the Latest Cryptography Strategies
Cryptography is an essential part of mobile app security, with several new strategies that mobile app developers use to secure mobile apps during development:
- Post-Quantum Cryptography: Traditional cryptographic algorithms may become vulnerable to attacks with quantum computing. Post-quantum cryptography focuses on developing cryptographic algorithms that can withstand quantum attacks.
- Blockchain Technology: Used to secure mobile apps by providing a tamper-proof ledger of transactions. It can verify the authenticity of data and transactions and prevent fraud.
- Homomorphic Encryption: Allows computations to be performed on encrypted data without decrypting it.
- Zero-Knowledge Proofs: Cryptographic protocols that prove to another party that they know a piece of information without revealing it. It verifies user identities without exposing sensitive data.
Minimizing Sensitive Data Storage
Small businesses use mobile apps to promote and sell their products and services and connect better with customers. These apps usually gather sensitive information needed for customer transactions.
Minimizing sensitive data storage limits the amount of sensitive data stored on the mobile device or transmitted over the network. It reduces the amount of data that is vulnerable to theft or exploitation. Sensitive data can include personally identifiable information (PII), financial information, healthcare information, and other data types that can identify or harm individuals.
By minimizing sensitive data storage, mobile app developers can ensure compliance with various industry regulations and avoid penalties for non-compliance. These mobile app security strategies minimize sensitive data storage:
- Limit data collection from users. If an app only needs a user's name and email address, it should not request additional sensitive information, such as a social security number.
- Store data in secure locations, such as databases that are encrypted and protected by firewalls.
- Use tokenization to replace sensitive data with unique tokens that are meaningless to attackers.
- Implement data retention policies to automatically delete sensitive data after a certain period.
Mobile app developers must include safety and security during app development. Strategies such as encrypting source code, securing data in transit, using file-level and database encryption, and adapting the latest cryptography strategies can secure mobile app users. An efficient and secure app promotes the user experience and adds to the business's credibility and authority.
Secure your mobile apps by partnering with an expert mobile app development company in Chicago. Call Digital Authority Partners (DAP) today for mobile app success.
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