For any mobile application, security is one of the most important elements. No user will use an app that has compromised security. Every app has the user’s data. Doesn’t matter whether the data is private and confidential or general but it has to be secure in every way. Hence mobile app developers are under constant pressure to create an app with no loophole for cyber attacks. The threat of cyber-attacks has also been more than ever. Android and iPhone application development services providers have to work extra hard to integrate security measures into the app for client satisfaction and user security. An app with a lack of security is about to fail sooner or later.
When it is about business, it is highly important to come up with a secure application. Plenty of apps so, the question here is what exactly should iPhone app developers do to develop an app that is secure. There are various ways to make a secure iPhone application.
1) Wrap Your App
Deploying an app securely is mandatory and app wrapping is one of the easy and quick ways of doing it. What app wrapping do is segment the app from the rest of the device by capturing it into a miniature version in a managed environment. All the leading mobile app development agencies support app wrapping by setting some parameters without any coding and segmenting the app will be easy. There are certain issues with the concept of app wrapping. It’s not possible to share authentication credentials within an application wrapper. The tech giant Apple does use app wrapper for iOS apps but it doesn’t advise other companies to use it. Use app wrapping to secure the apps that address business problems that too for specific apps.
2) Secure iPhone App from Ground Up
iPhone app security is not something to take care of at the end of the development. Take security measures right from the starting phase of the development. In the case of native apps, the code stays in the iPhone devices. This means once it gets downloaded, it becomes easy for the hackers to get into it and steal user’s data. There are several vulnerabilities in the apps source code but that’s not the point where a business should focus on their security. Data security and networks are very essential parts of the overall security but the core focus is the app itself. Vulnerabilities can be due to failure to test the code, developer error, or your apps a target by the hacker.
3) Secure the Source Code
There is a high probability that the app is vulnerable at the stage of development. One of the best ways to secure your iOS app is through encryption. Also, scan the source code to check for any vulnerability. The code of the iPhone app should be easy to update, rebuild, and it should be portable between different OS and devices.
Check out the file size of the app, memory, battery, and data while working on app security. Don’t depend on the App Store approval to check the security. They sometimes approve apps with blunders.
4) Secure Data Storage
This is one of the biggest security issue user face, not just Apple but Android users as well when they lose their phones. Well, Apple offers security features to protect the phone’s data. Clearly, that’s not enough these days. iPhone app developers should build security into their apps and not rely on the device mechanism to protect sensitive data. To solve this, the developers must follow a golden rule – Store the data in the iPhone device only when it needs the app to work flawlessly and not otherwise. Here are some things to take care to follow the golden rule.
- Store the data in plain text in the app’s sandbox.
- Device keychain can securely store sensitive credentials.
- The file protection mechanism of Apple can protect consumer-grade data.
5) Transport Layer Protection
Majority of the modern iOS apps networked despite the selection of the platform. Confidential data gets exposed to attackers at times due to that. For secure iPhone mobile app development, follow practices to improve transport layer protection. Encrypt the app data with authentication, sessions, and tokens for better security. While developing always consider the app will run in the public Wi-Fi exposed to plenty of threats.
6) Client-Side Injection
These types of attacks are mostly found in web apps. However, increased numbers of attacks are also implemented on the iPhone apps these days. As a responsible developer, you should take proper measures to protect it. A parameterized query can be a good idea to use for better security. Avoid injection vulnerable functions like strcat and strcpy. Use extra validation while using URL schemes. Also, try minimizing the local capabilities of the app while developing hybrid apps. This will control and maintain the UIWebView of the mobile application.
7) Authorization and Authentication
The app is at security threats sometimes because of the poor server-side programming standards. iOS app developers should follow similar steps of protection that web app developers follow. To avoid security issues, use fewer device identifiers. Authenticate all the API calls to paid resources. Implement strong server-side authorization, authentication, and session management at all times. Don’t send out of the band tokens to the same devices. The hackers can track similar texts to the same device and it becomes easier for them to attack and breach.
8) Session Handling
Mobile applications are different from web apps. Handling sessions properly is a difficult task for mobile apps as compared to web app development. Security problems happen when sessions are open. To save apps from these, every developer must focus on session handling. The developers must take the right decisions from the early stage of designing and development. The easy solution for the developers is to use a keyspace of a minimum of 4 bits and use the biggest character set available. Mobile app developers can also try to randomize all the session identifiers to improve security. Don’t allow iPhone apps to make an automated request to stop the session timeout. It is one of the important tactics
9) Security Decisions through Untrusted Inputs
Compared to Android, iOS is a safer platform when it is about assigning app channels for communicating among apps. However, there are still some communication channels in Apple’s OS that needs the developers to take the right steps to ensure the iPhone’s safety. Developers should canonicalize and validate all input data in the app boundaries. Take security measures while validating and accepting URL schemes. Untrusted data output gets escaped to make sure it doesn’t change the intent data input. Ask the users to allow or reject the requested resource.
10) Side Channel Data Leakage
Modern iPhone applications perform data exchange which improves the app performance and user experience. Some of the most popular iPhone app functions include keystroke logging used by the keyboard apps for checking to spell. Use web caching for improving browser speeds. Developers should develop the apps keeping in mind the device might get stolen to uplift the security standards and keep the app extra secure. Identify the side-channel data for that. Identify and enumerate all the third-party libraries and side channels to be ready for the situation of data leakage and handle it effectively. Make sure to discard screenshots along with the cut and paste buffers. iPhone app developers can also revoke the keystroke logging from sensitive apps. Test the apps data storage and communication continuously to check there is no data stored or transmitted without proper knowledge.
11) Broken Cryptography
Mobile app security is at times breached because of weak cryptography. These flaws are the result of bad key management. iPhone app design and development company should very carefully integrate different aspects of the cryptosystem. While implementing it try not to store or hard code the cryptographic keys. Use secure containers to store cryptographic keys. Use a secure server to create a secure key exchange to the control key. Make sure to not save it on the local mobile device. Session tokens and security credentials can every securely stored in the device keychain. Third-party API encryption is also a good way to secure the general type of data.
12) Sensitive Information Disclosure
iPhone applications have plenty of confidential information feed by the end-user. If not coded carefully, the apps can be engineered reversely. Instead of protecting data, use it to fetch information from the app. It’s very simple for the iPhone app design company to solve such errors. They should not allow confidential and sensitive data to stay in the mobile device in the first place. They should take care that the sensitive data is always stored in the process memory and not on the iPad or iPhone. Make it as secure as possible. Another thing to do is trip binaries before shipping. Also, avoid writing any sensitive information to the log files. Not following it might allow the hackers and attackers with malicious intent to monitor it.
1) How do you make an app secure?
Here are some of the steps to follow for making the app secure:
- App wrapping
- Ground-up security
- Secure source code
- Disclosure of sensitive information
- Trusted inputs
- Session handling
- Authorization and authentication
- Protecting side-channel data leakage
- Client-side injection
- Transport layer protection
2) Are iPhone apps secure?
A mobile app provides great benefits but we cannot deny the fact that it is prone to security threats. If not handled and protected well, hackers can attack the app and take sensitive data. Thanks to Apple that it provides layers of security to ensure that the apps are free from security threats and user’s data is not tampered by the people with malicious intent.
3) How do you authenticate a mobile app?
Here how you can authenticate a mobile app for better security:
- Basic HTTP authentication
- Token-based authentication
- Session-based authentication
- Shared secret based hash authentication
- JSON web tokens based authentication
4) Does the iPhone have malware protection?
iPhone doesn’t need any virus protection and there are none available as well. For virus protection, there is no need for any app. Safari and other browsers get phishing pop-ups and it is really easy to clear them with safari reset.
5) How does mobile authentication work?
Here is the workflow of mobile authentication:
- The app will send a request to the user credential to the backend server.
- The server checks the credential for its validation. The server will create a new session for a random session ID.
- The server sends a reply with a session ID to the client.
If you are an iPhone app design and development company, you know what you should do to protect your app and enhance the security standards to deploy your users with a safe iPhone application.