#Asia Secret tips for developing safe and secure Android apps


In Android Mobile Application Development, OS occurs with a default mechanism that allows for building apps with file permissions and also to avoid difficult security issues


‘Safety is gainful, but its breaching is painful’

FThis is the villainy virtual world where thieves hide behind ‘no-name’ identity and are hard to trace. What would you say if any Android mobile application is unethically intruded by hackers? Are all Android applications secure?

Security is a “critical and crucial” concern when developing mobile applications; and for Android, this will be a more vital thing to consider. It’s apparent that Android is dominating platform with nearly 82.8 per cent of the market share in the year 2015.

With such fame, the risk of being attacked by the hackers also increases. So, security is a significant concern in Android mobile application development. It is irrelevant of how good the app store optimisation is done. This should be noted. It is quite obvious that the popular platform Android OS comes with several in-built features that decreases such security issues, it is beneficial know and learn the practices which helps to develop impregnable Android mobile apps that aren’t vulnerable to the security threats.

As reputation supersedes everything else, security precede promises and credentials. In Android Mobile Application Development, OS occurs with a default mechanism that allows for building apps with file permissions and also to avoid difficult security issues. There are certain loopholes that developers of should take care of. By understanding and thoroughly interpret these loopholes, it will be pretty easy to diminish the security measures involved with Android mobile app development. We hope the following tips will be of good help serving that purpose.

Validating the input fields

Developers should not foresee the threats that occurs from client side injection. In any Android mobile application which accepts input, this terror is vital factor as any malicious code which is passed through a text field as input to the apps can interrupt its full-functioning. Therefore, while going for Android app development, it becomes mandatory for the developers to have a security testing checklist for validating all the input fields. There are few technologies like DEP and ASLR, reduces the impact of such issues on the apps developed.

Data leakage

Data leaks are major issues when developers fail to realise that their app information may be accessible to other apps as well or is being stored in some other devices elsewhere. ‘Threat modelling’ during testing phase ensures that no sensitive data is being copied while mobile application development. You should be careful of what the application stores on the mobile device.

Weak server

Today, it is feasible that data from the application servers can be hacked. How can the response action occurring between the app and server be tampered? It is because most of these applications are based on APIs like REST or SOAP API. For this, just and API requester will suffice. So, while developing Android application, it is advised to use secure coding practices at the server end.

Requesting Permissions

We recommend minimising the number of permissions that your app requests. Not having access to sensitive permissions reduces the risk of inadvertently misusing those permissions, can improve user adoption, and makes your app less vulnerable for attackers.

Avoid exporting components

In order to minimise the attack possibility, avoid exporting components except when necessary. You can use intent filters, but these cannot be completely relied upon for complete protection of exported components. This is because a crafted intent that uses fully qualified component names has the tendency to bypass intent filters.

Use encrypted communication

For SSL/TLS use, it is always advisable to use encrypted communication with the backend application server. Since 1024-bit key length is now a weaker method of encryption, all certificates must have a 2048-bit key length. Ex: ‘Certificate Pinning’- Trendy practice in mobile application development currently.

‘No-storing’ sensitive data

Want to dissuade hackers or discourage them? Avoid storing sensitive data on the Android device during run time. Store the password securely in KeyStore for Android. Data that is needed should be encrypted on the device. The idea is to process data in case of need and delete it immediately when not needed.

Smartphones have come to define us by our online identity and as such should be treated with care and secured against online (hacking) or offline (stolen). Though it’s quite not cyberbullying, it is a serious matter. If you are not careful, then your social media accounts, your synchronised files, valuable documents, emails, pictures and messages, etc., are at risk. It should be invulnerable and impenetrable. Your entire information will be traced if you are not careful enough. There is no one sitting especially for you to protect your precious data, than you.

Android-packed phones exceeded 1 billion units in sale by 2016 end. This was much higher than iOS (192.7 million). The Android apps store has around 1.6 million apps, which makes Android mobile apps development a flourishing and expanding business around the world. Yes, we are talking about the security of all those apps.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your article here.

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