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Growth Hacking

How can you build a secure iOS App for your business?

by Rakesh kr, on Sep 11
With more and more people using iDevices, developing iOS apps shall provide immense opportunities to take your business to new horizons, where you can reach your target niche befittingly.

App Store currently holds millions of applications to serve different purposes. However, simply developing an iOS application is not enough to get desired results. You need to consider several linked aspects like security, scalability, and other UX needs. This post is dedicated to ensuring security of an iOS app by following certain best development practices.

Let’s begin!

Securing data storage

Undoubtedly, iPhone provides perfect security mechanisms that ensure sensitive data protection for users. However, iOS app development agency needs to build security right to get more comprehensive protection into the applications.

For instance, data needs to be stored locally only when it is required by the application to work the right way. You can secure the customer-grade data with Apple’s file protection mechanism; sensitive credentials need to be stored securely in keychain of the device.

Enhance transport layer protection

Regardless of the operating system, modern mobile applications are networked- making sensitive data exposed to various attacks. So, there comes a need to enhance the protection of the transport layer. To achieve this, you can

SSL/TLS encryption; accepting only properly validated SSL certificates; using CFNetwork API which utilizes NSStreamSocketSecurityLevelSSLv3/TLSv1.2.

Follow best authorization and authentication

If iOS developers fail to follow the best authorization and authentication practices, it can be exploited further, by poor server-side programming standards. This concern can be minified with the following practices:

Strong server-side authorization, authentication, and session management implementation; API calls authentication to paid resources; don’t send ‘out-of-band’ authentication tokens; least usage of device identifiers (IMEI, UDID, etc).

Adequate session handling

During app development process, iOS experts need to handle sessions seriously- it should be given priority since day 1 of the app development. Unlike website, mobile apps have difficulty in handling sessions properly. For instance, when sessions are left open infinitely, security issues may arise.

To avoid these concerns, developers should randomize session identifiers to boost security; use a keyspace of at least XXXX bits along with practicing largest character set available to it; avoid using ‘Remember Me’ functionality in sensitive iOS apps; restrict apps to generate automated requests for session timeouts prevention.

Identify side-channel data leakage

All sort of processes involved data exchange is performed by modern applications to enhance UX and app performance. A common action that iOS application performs such as keystroke logging- that is further used for spell checking by keyboard applications. To enhance browser speeds, there is also web caching.

One loophole that iOS developers need to consider here is to identify side-channel data identification. Every application should be designed and developed under an assumption of device stealing or lost. Some best iOS app development practices involve,

Identification and enumeration of all side channels; preparing 3rd party libraries for occurrences like data leakage; cut-and-paste buffers along with screenshots disabling; disabling keystroke logging for sensitive iOS apps; test communication channels and data stores of an application dynamically (to ensure that no sensitive data is stored or transmitted unknowingly).

To wind up

These above-mentioned App security areas are amongst the most exploited ones. However, there are many other loopholes and flaws that need to be eradicated before launching your application on App store. You can mitigate their risk to a great extent by developing a secure iOS application with a static code analysis approach.

You can also take help of software to automate the iOS app security process even during the app development process. It will save developer’s time wasted in incorporating complex solutions which need long hours of installation and other maintenance procedures.

Note: Full or partial copy of the publication is allowed only with the direct active link to InnMind platform.

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