As a result of the open source platform, Android apps are more vulnerable to security threats than their iOS counterparts. It’s no wonder Google is devoting significant attention to keeping up-to-date with newly discovered vulnerabilities, publishing regular news and security patches about compromised elements of the popular mobile software.
The problem with cyber security threats is that tackling past mistakes is not enough. Mobile app developers need to think of staying at least one step ahead of cybercriminals to keep users happy in terms of security of their mobile devices.
With the rise of mobile payment revenues from 450 billion in 2015 to 1 trillion dollars in 2019, there is a growing concern about the security of mobile payments worldwide. This growing phenomenon of paying with a smartphone in the U.S., either remotely or by proximity readers is expected to grow to more than 350 billion dollars in total.
Take the Heavy Load in a Shared Responsibility
With these staggering numbers, it’s expected that users are worried about what, who and how can jeopardize their phone’s security. Common user concerns in regards to mobile payment security include phone hacking or data interception, account access without permission, phone theft or loss, malware packages, misuse of personal information, as well as impaired or illegitimate company policies for data handling and protection.
For over a quarter of the users, the strongest security fear is the one of phone hacking and/or interception. As a general rule, Apple users are happier than Android fans in terms of how secure are their devices, for obvious reasons: software restraints and the number of users.
Although users can never be 100% secure when using a mobile platform (1.6 million mobile malware installation packages have been reported in the third quarter of 2017), app developers still bear a large share of responsibility to make end users feel safe. When planning on how to develop an app, iOS and Android app developers need to think carefully about how they will ensure better security. Regardless of the mobile platform, app developers can produce secure apps by applying the following best practices.
Strengthen Encryption for Native Apps
Since native and hybrid apps store a large amount of essential user data on the device, the device is attractive and vulnerable to attacks. When the encryption strategy is weak, data breaches are more common. No user is happy to see sensitive personal data leak, be it by accident or on purpose.
This is why the app developers’ main task is to choose a strong encryption method that will make the device less prone to attacks. Successful examples include getting to the root of the problem, such as encrypting mobile database from the start, developing strict key management strategies and handling sensitive mobile payment data – credit card information via secure encrypted servers. There are apps or device-based encryption methods for those that like taking things into their own hands.
Use Metrics for Security vs Balance Performance
When developing native apps, it’s best to implement the security strategy from the very beginning of the app development. This is where app developers need to balance security with performance. Your opportunity for control once the app is installed on thousands of end user device is limited. You cannot compare this precautionary work with the work of web-based app models where servers go offline, providing plenty of time to examine the monitored log reports and design patches.
For native apps, you are by no means off the hook. Even if you keep up with the security updates, users don’t follow at the same pace. Thinking through the security details is important. You can use app performance metrics, such as run-memory or battery usage to gain insights into the device performance and draw conclusions about the security vulnerabilities.
Secure Network Exchange
There are different ways to store encrypted data and secure the network connections dedicated to data exchange. When you work with access entries via cloud servers, you need to pay extra care to secure the communication between your APIs, third-parties and end users. Protect servers from interceptions.
Apart from continuous and repetitive penetration tests executed with the help of network specialists, app developers have several other options to use for secure data storage and transfer. Encrypted containers help a lot. Federation is an alternative encryption method which distributes security resources across multiple servers, and separates them from users to enable better security.
In the end, you can always advise users to rely on a strong anti malware app or test you cybersecurity app development skills in waters like machine learning, which becomes increasingly fertile in the IoT. On the other hand, there are fresh winds blowing for app developers. You need to start thinking of tackling the Big Data challenges, which is only getting bigger day by day, opening new security risks and creating new loopholes for hackers. If we go back to mobile payments, devices now include sophisticated authentication methods, which can secure transactions, but also make app development more complex.