As of June 2021, statistics indicate that Android is at the top-most position in operating systems, gripping the mobile operating system market with a 73% share approximately.
When the same is clubbed with Apple’s iOS 99%, they possess 99% of the global market share. However, sophisticated hackers are trying to penetrate these Android apps via security lapses.
They have been known to exploit some Android vulnerabilities which permit successful execution of malware (StrandHogg, Joker, etc.) and compromised codes into the system.
This allows complete access of the device to the hackers, and hence web developers are considering the security aspect of the Android applications as a top priority.
Keeping this issue in mind, I have penned down some pivotal Android app security solutions to save you from these cyber-criminals.
Let’s check them out.
Tips to Secure an Android Application:
- 1 Tips to Secure an Android Application:
- 1.1 Secure your App by using SSL/TLS:
- 1.2 Set up VPN on Android Devices:
- 1.3 Make Authentication Invulnerable:
- 1.4 Safeguard against Code Injections:
- 1.5 Minimize & Secure Client-Side Storage:
- 1.6 Maintain Secured Communication with other Apps:
- 1.7 Permit the Right Permissions:
- 1.8 Security on Data Storage:
Secure your App by using SSL/TLS:
When an Android app is under the target, the main motto of an attacker is to get hold of the data-in-transit between the application and the backend server.
They can snoop these communications, impersonate your app, and gain unauthorized access to your server and app data.
You can secure your app by using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) / TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols which can be attached to your code.
These security protocols encrypt the application data and are a tough call for hackers to penetrate.
Ensure that all your app-server communications are over an HTTPS (hyper-text transfer protocol secure) connection by configuring your server with an SSL certificate bought from a trustworthy SSL certificate provider like CheapSSLShop.
Example: If your website has multiple domains and subdomains that need to be secured, investing in separate single-domain SSL certs doesn’t make financial sense.
It is highly recommended to buy a multi domain SSL certificate that affords premium encryption to up to 250 FQDNS (Fully Qualified Domain Names). This number varies from provider to provider.
Set up VPN on Android Devices:
When devices are outside the network area, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is recommended because it permits secured network access to external devices.
Android has an in-built VPN client (PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and IPSec), which supports all the devices running on Android 4.0 and later. Using a VPN app also keeps hackers away from your device.
Android VPN apps ensure data privacy to the users.
Make Authentication Invulnerable:
Apart from targeting the data routes in Android, some hackers also focus on penetrating the apps via authentication channels.
This can be done by gaining user trust and ensuring your users’ security of their data. Though some users find the 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) process time-consuming (every time they need to enter OTP or PIN, etc.), it is essential for app security.
Another important factor is the key exchange process, where AES encryption is ideal for securing transactions.
Safeguard against Code Injections:
Now that you have strengthened the security of the Android app start focusing on how to validate and secure the input of data punched by the users.
The majority of the apps are communicative and ask for user details via input fields in the form of form-filling or direct data uploads. This information is crucial for you and hackers, so being a developer ensures that your input validation is stringent.
Example: If a text is to be entered in the field, ensure that entry of numbers and symbols are restricted.
This will help prevent compromised inputs and keep hackers away from your app.
Minimize & Secure Client-Side Storage:
Securing user data stored on their devices is out of your reach and may invite data breaches. It’s simple. If a user’s device is compromised and a hacker gets access to user data, they can indirectly steal your app information.
The best way to prevent this situation is to encrypt all user data, and if the data is exposed, get rid of it immediately.
In addition to monitoring data storage, checkout for other security leaks as well and seal them.
Mobile app vulnerability scanners like Ostorlab scans all Android and iOS applications, whereas scanners like Appvigil provide cloud-based app security.
Maintain Secured Communication with other Apps:
Give your users an option of app chooser for fulfilling their desired action. This will permit the users to select their desired app for transferring their crucial data.
Permit the Right Permissions:
Restricting the number of permissions for the proper functioning of an app is essential so that unnecessary gateways to access the app for hackers are minimized.
Security on Data Storage:
When the security of data punched by a user or data stored in the app is concerned, cryptography is the only answer to resolve your problem.
Handling Internal Storage of Data:
When all the user data is stored in the device’s internal storage, it is sandboxed and can’t be accessed by other apps. Furthermore, when encrypted, it provides robust security to this data storage.
Handling External Storage of Data:
Since Android systems can’t guarantee the security of external data storage, it’s wise to use scoped directory access or an app-specific directory to secure the same.
Few More Tips:
- Ensure that the libraries and dependencies are updated to secure the communication points.
- Enable code shrinking, avail obfuscation benefits, and later optimize your code with R8compiler.
Android has multiple algorithms which can secure data apart from permitting data isolation. Secured communication tunnels, encryption of code and user input by ensuring communication over HTTPS protocol using SSL sockets, shrinking, and optimizing code to prevent security leaks.
Regular use of mobile vulnerability scanners will make your Android app invulnerable to security threats.
Though tech-savvy hackers always find flaws to penetrate these apps, implementing the solutions mentioned above will give them a hard time breaking your app or accessing your app code and data. Best Wishes!!