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Mobile App Security Tips to Help Secure User Data

The global mobile app market was valued at $228.98 billion last year and is projected to hit US$673.80bn by 2027. Many companies and businesses are creating mobile apps to tap into this thriving market.

But as the use of these apps increases, hackers are also developing new ways to breach and steal user data. As a result, apps like the Lottoland app are required by regulations such as the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect user information, ensuring it’s used fairly, lawfully, and transparently.

So, anyone owning a mobile app or in the process of developing one must understand the importance of securing user data. A security breach can erode user trust and lead to hefty fines and legal repercussions.

With that in mind, let’s look at some essential tips to help you secure your mobile app and protect user information.

1.  Enhance Authentication Protocols

There are various ways to authenticate users in your mobile app. You can use passwords, PINs, one-time codes, biometrics, or social login. Whichever method you choose, ensure it has high-level encryption protocols in place to survive hack attempts.

Encourage users to create complex passwords like alphanumeric passwords and remind them to change their passwords occasionally. You can even incorporate biometric authentication like fingerprints or facial recognition. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security because users must verify their identity through multiple means.

2.  Encrypt Sensitive Data

You must employ encryption techniques to protect sensitive user data during storage and transmission. You can use HTTPS protocol, TLS encryption, and SSL certificates to protect the data in transit. Use secure algorithms and libraries to salt and hash passwords before storing them.  

Data encryption converts data into an unreadable form, so only the person with the key can read it. This means even if hackers access the data, they won’t make sense of it. You can encrypt mobile app data in two ways: symmetrically or asymmetrically. Asymmetric encryption uses two keys for encryption and decryption, while symmetric encryption uses the same for both. 

3.  Perform Security Checks and Regularly Update the App

Before the app’s release, you’ll need to perform security checks to determine reliability and safety. Security checks help you identify any weak points that hackers may exploit. But it should not end there. Security checks should continue even after release.

Periodically assess your app’s security through comprehensive security audits. Identify and address potential vulnerabilities, review access controls, and ensure your app complies with the latest security standards.

Moreover, stay ahead of potential security vulnerabilities by issuing regular updates. Prompt users to enable automatic updates or notify them when new versions with enhanced security features are available. This proactive approach minimises the risk of exploitation by malicious actors.

4.  Secure Data Storage

Even after securing the user-server interface, you still need to secure the backend to prevent data leaks from the app server and database. You can store app data in several ways, including local, cloud, or hybrid storage. The right data storage will depend on your app features and requirements, but you’ll also need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, local storage is fast and reliable but is not synchronised across devices and has limited capacity. Cloud storage is secure and scalable but may incur costs. Hybrid storage is a better solution because it provides the best of both worlds.

Regardless of your data storage, ensure no data is shared with a third party, the IPC mechanism, or the keyboard cache. Encrypt all files, user credentials, and databases through Keystone, keychain, or SQL server. Moreover, regularly re-encrypt your system with new keys and store the key separately from the data it protects.

5.  Data Minimization Principle

The data minimization principle states you should only collect data necessary for your app’s function. Every additional data point increases the attack surface. For example, an e-commerce website might require a user’s name and address for delivery but not political affiliation.

Collect only the user data you need and use encrypted data containers to store it. Moreover, ensure the data is deleted automatically after a specific period.

Final Thought

Securing your mobile app users’ data is a top priority. It’s an ongoing process and not a one-time fix. In that case, you must perform regular security checks and app updates to ensure no vulnerabilities. Also, ensure you enhance authentication protocols, encrypt sensitive data, and only collect necessary information.

Kerry Dean

Kerry is a Content Creator at she has spent many years working in IT support, her main interests are computing, networking and AI.

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