Thousands of apps are being released to major app stores every day. Yet, most of them wither before they even have a chance to bloom.
The effort, money, and time that is put into developing apps are enormous. Once you’ve got a lot of negative feedback from the users, there will be hardly any second chance given to prove the worth of your app. So ensuring security should be a major step taken by app development companies.
Some of the most common security vulnerabilities of android apps include the following:
1. Inadequate Transport Layer protection
2. Client side injection
3. Poor authorization & authentication
4. Security decisions through untrusted inputs
5. Broken cryptography
6. Lack of binary protections
7. Improper session handling
8. Unintended data leakage
9. Insecure data storage
10. Weak server side controls
Android operating system has several built in security features which makes attacks less frequent. These features allow enabling security easier during android app development. The main in-built security features include the ones given below.
- Android Application Sandbox can be used to isolate the app data and code execution from other apps.
- Data can be protected using an encrypted file system in case of device loss or theft.
- Application data can be controlled by enabling application-defined permissions.
- It enables user granted permissions. This will restrict access to the user data and system features.
- Includes technologies to reduce memory management errors which include ASLR, ProPolice etc.
Although the android platform offers many benefits in terms of security, it is important to follow some coding practices during android app development since ensuring the safety of user data is a very crucial step in confirming your app’s success. Some are:
Recommended read: 4 Steps to Consider While Hiring an Android App Development Company
1. Seek minimum number of permission requests.
2. The registration and activation process should be well made.
3. Never store sensitive information on external storage, since the data will become very easy to exploit.
4. Network transactions should be adequately protected as it involves transmission of private data.
5. Strong input validation is very important for app security.
6. When using native code, attacks that can be induced from data coming over a network or IPC should be controlled by carefully handling the pointers and managing buffers.
7. Use parameterized queries to submit to SQL database in order to stay safe from SQL injection.
9. Use authorization token instead of frequently asking for user credentials so as to reduce phishing attacks.
10. Android offers a lot of methods to protect data, such as data isolation, entire file system encryption, cryptography, and secure communication channels.
11. Its better to use Android based Intent, Binder, or Messenger than Linux based network sockets and shared files to execute IPC.
12. In Android, Intent is preferably used towards an application component for asynchronous IPC.
13. For RPC related IPC, using Binder or Messenger is preferred, which can ensure mutual authentication of endpoints.
14. Loading code from outside of your application APK, can increase the risk of code injection.
15. Backend APIs and platforms should be secured sufficiently.
16. Properly configured SSL should be in place to secure communication between clients and servers.
As a methodology the key areas for enabling security during android app development can be divided into the following sections:
- Information gathering
- Configuration & deploy management and assessment
- Authentication assessment
- Cryptography assessment
- Information leak assessment
- User entry management assessment
- Intent reception management assessment
- UIR (Unauthorized Intent Receipt) assessment
- Application business logic assessment