Whether you design mobile or web applications, it’s vital to stay on top of the latest security procedures. A publicized breach could ruin your reputation as a developer, and compromise your own data at the same time. There are a number of ways to boost security both during and after the design process. Here are six ways to get started with designing a stronger, more secure and reliable app.
1. Use multi-factor authentication
No matter what type of app you’re designing, implement at least two-factor authentication to control access. For example, if you’re building a mobile app you can ask for a secure password as well as the registered mobile device or number. The user can be sent a PIN number or single use password via SMS or voice message the first time they use your app. Other authentication factors could include biometrics or bits of knowledge that only the specific user would have access to. If you want your web or mobile app to be water-tight, you’ll need to include this type of security system. This is particularly important if your app access financial or personal information. Extra security layers like these can help build trust in your brand.
2. Beware of malicious code
A very common problem for mobile app designers is the use of malicious malware or code. With this type of threat, a hacker puts malicious code directly into your app and posts it on a third-party store, where users unsuspectingly download the compromised app. The first step to protecting your app design from this threat is to be aware of it, after which you need to protect your code carefully using encryption during the design process.
3. Use vague error messages
When designing a web application, you probably build in specific error messages for users if their attempt to log in fails. However, if you are too specific with this message, hackers can use this information to glean clues about how to access the app. Don’t specify if the username or password is incorrect, because it will give a hacker a piece of the puzzle to break into the site. Change your default error messages to keep them as generic as possible.
4. Keep on top of security trends
Malicious code is just one example of a security issue facing web developers at the moment. As you start to design your next app, you’ll want to find out what other issues are most likely to impact your work. Keep on top of the latest security blog posts and find out what network experts are doing to protect data and boost security, whether it’s security from Nokia Networks or Microsoft. Sign up for training programs to find out more about secure coding, or take an ethical hacking course to brush up on your skills.
5. Use unique passwords for all accounts
You probably already use separate passwords for your personal online accounts, and you should do the same for your professional projects. If you use the same password for all of your app designs and one is hacked, it compromises all of your projects at once. Create separate, unique passwords each and every time you start a new project.
6. Make security testing part of your design process
Finally, be sure to integrate application security testing directly into the development process. Skimping on this step could mean that an app hits the market with built-in security flaws, despite your best secure coding practices. Use SAST and DAST solutions to identify any defects and help you catch security vulnerabilities quickly and efficiently.