5 Easy Ways to Make Your App More Secure than Snapchat
Did you know that 78% of the top 100 Android and iOS apps have been hacked? It’s true. And the problem is, it’s not going to get any better over time. There is an increasing amount of malware targeting smartphones and it’s no surprise since smartphone adoption is rising so quickly. Unfortunately, when we sit down and create our apps the last thing we want to think about is the boring app security side of things.
Marketing, getting updates to our customers, and designing a beautiful app are honestly much more fun. But just think about the poor ratings and feedback Snapchat got after the hack. The truth is, you don’t have to be a security expert to have a secure app. Implementing just a few of these simple security techniques take less than an hour and you’ll be back to making your amazing app in no time. Check these out.
1. Make sure you use SSL to talk to your servers
Not using SSL to pass your user’s data back and forth from their phone to the servers is like ringing the dinner bell to invite hackers to the feast. Even some of the biggest companies, Amazon in particular, have been caught not passing data securely in their mobile apps. Don’t risk your user’s data because of a simple oversight. It’s easy to use SSL to protect use data, especially since the two most popular platforms handle most of the dirty work for you. Just use “https://” any time you want customers to sign in, provide an email, or anything else you wouldn’t want hackers to intercept and you will already be well ahead of the game.
2. Invest in two-factor authentication
You are probably familiar with two-factor authentication without even knowing it. It’s the same technology your bank or email provider uses to make sure you are who you say you are. The good news is you don’t have to be a large bank or email provider to pull this off. There are a few dead simple options app developers can use to get going in a matter of minutes like Google Authenticator or DuoSecurity. Just be sure to choose an option that won’t be difficult for you to implement and for your customers to use.
3. Use a secure mobile app content management system
When you send video, images, or any other content to your customers, how do you send it? If you are delivering that content remotely, consider using a secure mobile app CMS like Joppar Content. Think about it. The content in your app is just as important, if not more important than the app’s function itself. If you don’t want hackers to stream infamous scenes from The Godfather to your kids, make sure you protect where your content is being served.
4. Don’t skip on code reviews
One of the good things about developing apps with a team is the extra expertise you have at your fingertips. Even if you don’t have a team of super sleuth mobile app security experts, a few developers may notice some code vulnerabilities. Don’t skip on these golden opportunities to get feedback that will help you improve your app security. Don’t have a team? That’s fine. Find a trusted developer friend, a co-worker off the clock, or pay for a code review from a few code review services online. Whatever you do, try your best to get another pair of eyes on it.
5. Don’t ask for so much information
Do you really need your mobile app customers’ middle name, phone number, address, eye color, waist size, last lunch selection, and blood type to deliver a great user experience? If you said yes, I want to see your app ;) Asking too much information can be annoying to the user and a huge security risk. To paraphrase one of my favorite security experts Frank Rietta, ‘If you aren’t willing to spend the money or time to secure it, don’t ask for it’.
Clearly, this is not the “definitive” list of mobile app security tips, in fact it’s just the beginning. Just don’t make the same mistake as Snapchat did and think of app security as a “bonus” or “extra” thing you can do later. Adding some of these security measures into your mobile app now will help you at least give hackers a challenge later.
So, how much time do you spend on making sure your app is secure? What preventative measures have you taken so far? Let me know in the comments below.
About the author: Patrick Chukwura, co-founder of Joppar, has been a developer for over 13 years. He has two popular apps that were downloaded over 1 million times and featured by Apple, Mashable, CNET, and more. Now, he helps make mobile app optimization tools that help mobile app teams launch apps easier and faster.