Top 5 Application Development Security Mistakes

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Security is a critical aspect of mobile application development. Unfortunately, many developers are unaware of the security mistakes that can be made during development.

As a mobile app developer, you’re always looking for ways to make your app better and more secure. But even the best of us make mistakes, which can sometimes lead to disastrous consequences.

Here are the top application development security mistakes:

Many mistakes can be made during the application development process, but some are more common than others. To help you avoid some of these mistakes, here are the top 5 application development security mistakes to watch out for

1. Not using strong passwords:

This is one of the most common mistakes developers make. They use simple weak passwords that can be easily guessed by hackers.

A strong password should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

You should also avoid using dictionary words or everyday things such as your name or date of birth. With password crackers, hackers can launch brute-force attacks with dictionaries and commonly used passwords publicly available online.

Also, make sure to use different passwords for different accounts. If you use the same passwords for multiple accounts and one is compromised, your other accounts are also at risk.

This is why it’s essential to use a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane to generate and store strong passwords for you.

LastPass is a freemium password manager that makes it easy to generate and store strong passwords. It also has a handy feature that allows you to share passwords with other LastPass users.

Dashlane is another excellent option for storing passwords. It also has a feature that automatically allows you to change your default passwords regularly.

Both LastPass and Dashlane have free and premium versions. The free versions should be sufficient for most software developers.

 

2. Permitting Invalid Data to Enter the Database: 

Invalid data can include SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other malicious input. To prevent this type of attack, you should validate all user input before it’s entered into the database.

This can be done using server-side validation or client-side validation. Server-side validation is more secure for mobile app developers because it happens on the server before the data is entered into the database. However, client-side validation is faster and easier to implement. If you choose to use client-side validation, make sure also to use server-side validation so that your app is protected even if JavaScript is disabled on the user’s device. The best way to validate data is to use a whitelist approach, which only allows known good data to enter the database.

For example, If you are creating a form and unsure how to validate data, you can use a tool like Wufoo to help you.

Wufoo is a web form builder that includes built-in data validation. It’s easy to use and free for up to five forms.

Another option is to use a library like jQuery Validation Plugin. jQuery Validation Plugin is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to validate and sanitize the user input. However, there is no substitute for sanitizing the input directly in PHP scripts.

 

3. Unencrypted Data Storage in the Database:

Unencrypted data is a sitting duck for hackers. If you store unencrypted data in the database, all it takes is one SQL injection attack to compromise the security of your entire app. It’s one of the common security mistakes that causes multiple security and data breaches every year.

To prevent this, you should always encrypt sensitive data before it’s entered into the database. The most common type of encryption is symmetric encryption, which uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt data.

Asymmetric encryption is another option, which uses a public key to encrypt sensitive data and a private key to decrypt it. Asymmetric encryption is more secure, but it’s also more complex to implement.

A good way to encrypt data is to use the OpenSSL library. OpenSSL is a free and open-source cryptography library that provides robust encryption, decryption, and signing algorithms.

If you’re using PHP, you can use the openssl_encrypt() and openssl_decrypt() functions to encrypt and decrypt data.

Another option is to use the Mcrypt library. Mcrypt is a free and open-source cryptography library that provides various encryption, decryption, and hashing algorithms.

 

4. Not Following a Consistent Coding Style: 

This doesn’t sound like a big, lousy security mistake, but it can lead to serious mobile app security breaches. When code is not consistent, it’s harder to read and understand. This can make it challenging to find and fix bugs. And in some cases, inconsistent coding can even introduce new bugs.

To prevent this, you should follow a consistent coding simple, but essential app security rule is never to store passwords in plain text. If you do, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets their hands on them.

Another way is to be consistent with code commenting and structuring your code in a way that is easy to read and understand even when using third-party libraries.

One of the source code analysis tools that can help you with this is PHP_CodeSniffer. PHP_CodeSniffer is a free and open-source coding standard compliance tool. It can help you automatically detect violations of a given coding standard and fix them for you.

Another tool is PHP Mess Detector. PHP Mess Detector is a free and open-source tool that scans your code for potential problems in the software development process.

 

5. Backdoor Accounts:

A backdoor account is a user account that gives an attacker easy access to your app. Backdoor accounts are often created by developers who want a “back door” into the app in case they get locked out; it can be for software testing, review, or just to show the stakeholder.

While this may seem like a good idea, it’s a terrible security practice. If attackers get their hands on a backdoor account, they can quickly wreak havoc on your app.

To prevent this, you should never create backdoor accounts. If you need to have a way to access the app in case you get locked out, you can use a tool like an ssh tunneling.

Ssh tunneling is a technique that allows you to securely access a remote server by tunneling your connection through an encrypted ssh connection.

Another option is to use a VPN. A VPN (a virtual private network) encrypts all traffic between your computer and the VPN server, making it impossible for anyone to eavesdrop on your connection. It also helps you to monitor and block any suspicious activity in the remote connection.

The best way to prevent backdoor accounts is to have a strong authentication and authorization system. This will ensure that only authorized users can access your app. Plus, the account should be promptly deleted when the backdoor use is completed.

Conclusion

Security should always be a top priority when developing any type of application. Following the tips in this blog post can help ensure that your mobile apps are as secure as possible.

Do you have any other tips for improving application security? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’re not sure your application is as secure as it could be, consider using a security testing service. At Vumetric, we offer a range of services to help you ensure your mobile device is safe from attack. Our team of experts will work with you to identify any vulnerabilities in your code and suggest solutions to fix them.

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