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Nowadays mobile applications come in hand to all of us as they solve different problems or help us complete daily tasks. Millennials use apps for various purposes, including tracking a parcel or creating a grocery shopping list. In fact, the number of downloaded mobile applications for the past year is over 200 billion and it’s expected to grow to 258 billion in 2022, according to Statista.

However, as they grow in popularity, we can also see additional concerns around their security. E-commerce or health apps, for instance, may contain sensitive information about the user’s overall health, location, and credit card details. On the other hand business apps have data about companies that need to be protected as well.

Over the years, mobile application security tends to improve. Nevertheless, a report shows that there are 322 security flaws in Android apps and 124 in iOS ones in 2018. This might be a drastic improvement from the previous year, but it also means that developers still need to work on that aspect to avoid data leakage.

According to Forbes, 70% of the most used Android apps leak sensitive data and put millions of consumers at risk. This is why all steps from planning your mobile app development to launching the actual app and its further maintenance matter. Here are some ways that you can improve your mobile application security so that your users and your business won’t be at risk.

Understand platform-specific limitations

You need to understand the security features and limitations of the platform or platforms that you are developing an app for and code accordingly. Also, bear in mind different use case scenarios, passwords, encryption, and geolocation support for the operating system you work with. This way you can develop and distribute the perfect mobile app for the chosen platforms.

If you chose to work on iOS there are plenty of tips to design a perfect mobile app that’s also secure and provides the best user experience. There are plenty of steps you can take to enhance Android app security as well.

Start with a secured app code

Mobile app security needs to be a priority from the very beginning, just like any other software project. Native apps are more vulnerable than web ones because once downloaded, the code resides on a device. A common mistake is that businesses fail to focus on spending on a secured code.

Developers’ error or failure to test the code might cause huge vulnerabilities to your app, making it easy for hackers to get the information they want. To avoid that you need an encrypted code, that is thoroughly tested for vulnerabilities. Keep in mind that the app store’s approval doesn’t necessarily mean that your mobile app is safe. There are plenty of unsecured apps that have been put on various stores.

Encrypt all data as well

Encrypting the code is not enough. All data that is exchanged over your mobile app has to be encrypted as well. Encryption means that even if data is stolen, there’s nothing hackers can do with it, as it’s just lettering with no meaning unless you have a key.

For enterprise apps and ones that contain any sensitive user information, the data must be encrypted, as this makes it nearly impossible to be used.

Secure your network connections

All servers that a mobile app accesses need to have security measures in order to protect data and prevent unauthorized access. APIs and anyone who access them has to be verified to prevent spying on sensitive data passing from a client to the app’s server and database.

You can add extra security through encrypted connections or VPN (a virtual private network). Containerization is another security measure that creates encrypted containers for securely storing data and documents. Always protect the right data in the right way, because leakage through a network connection is pretty common.