January 26, 2020

How Can the Developer Prevent Data Leakage in Android Apps?

A report shows that more than 3000 Android and iOS mobile apps leak sensitive user data, including private user information and business data from over 23,000 unprotected firebase databases. The report states that 27,277 Android apps and 1,275 iOS apps keep app data on Firebase’s database systems. It is not the first report which sheds light on the issue that mobile apps leak users’ data. In reality, there are hundreds and thousands of apps that are vulnerable and leak millions of private information daily.

There is no denying fact that with the ever-increasing adoption of mobile apps, hackers have improved the tactics to hack a mobile app and steal user’s private information. It means that both Android and iOS mobile apps are involved in some famous data breaches incidents. Let it be Facebook Cambridge Analytica, Dashdoor data breach case, or the event when Facebook users suddenly found that they might have given some of the Android apps access to their email addresses, posts, and usernames.

The rapid spread of mobile technology has given cybercriminals a new platform to conduct attacks. The mobile app developers compel several advanced data protection mechanisms these days. But, not all of them remember about protecting the less obvious element that participates in the data processing. If you’re among them, then do through this guide thoroughly to have an in-depth insight of unintended data leakage and prevent data leaks related to these elements.

Encrypt Your App Data

Data processing is quite a sensitive part of the mobile phone application. It enables the availability of data and faster processing. However, as it contains sensitive data, it demands the need for security. The top mobile app development companies have revealed, compromise with the security in data processing is the most common source of possible data leaks. Here, you must be thinking how is this possible? Well! It is because your data is not encrypted.

Encryption is necessary for mobile app security. To protect your app data from malicious hackers, encrypt your app data with encryption keys or by using the security library. By doing so, the data shown will be in the form of some unique address that won’t be decoded and used further until it is decrypted by using the right cryptographic techniques. Encryption results in a lower possibility of hackers to use users’ data. Moreover, it also improves the speed and performance of your app, which, in turn, results in better user experience.

Implement HTTPs

Generally, the HTTP protocol is used to transfer the data between an Android app and server. But, the data shared by this protocol is not at all encrypted, which puts the user information at significant risk. Therefore, the Android app development companies need to replace the HTTP with its encrypted version i.e., HTTPs. HTTPs is based on TLS/SSL certificates and enables developers to add a significant amount of security to the data being shared or transferred.

This is only possible when you enforce the HTTPs connectivity in the right direction. It is suggested to consult with experts before you make an investment but do invest in this concept.

Consider App Logs

Logs are another vital element to consider while developing an Android mobile app. The application logs are useful for app professionals while examining the work of algorithms behind the data processing mechanism. They can assure that the sequence of processing is going in the right direction and the results produced are desirable too.

However, unfortunately, the logs do contain sensitive information like passwords or access tokens and are retained locally on devices. They are publicly readable and accessible by several other apps installed on the same machine. The best tactic to deal with this situation is to make sure that your Android app does not use logs. Although they’re helpful, the developers do not need them for the production stage of the app.

Avoid Data Caching

Data caching means keeping an amount of data stored in some temporary location for reuse. It is regarded as one of the fundamental elements of an Android app development strategy. It is because this technique allows users to feed any information without typing it that enhances app convenience and efficiency.

But, this technique can also prove one of the prime reasons behind data leakage in the Android application. Therefore, it is essential for app developers to consider setting appropriate input types, block auto-caching, and prevent the copying of content to the clipboard without taking permission from the user.

Use a VPN

If you’re on a public Wi-Fi network while on your mobile phone rather than using mobile data, it is suggested to use a VPN. A VPN is known to keep your data safe from all snooping eyes present on the same public network. They also efficiently mask your IP address, prevent filtering and censorship over the internet, and access a wide range of content all around the world.

In this case, it can protect you from getting on a free public network that others can use to gain access to your phone. When you’re looking for a provider, it is necessary to do proper research to dig out reliable and the best VPNs for Android devices. You can also visit the Apple app, and Google Play store as both of them have dozens of free VPN apps too.

Follow the Latest Android Development Guidelines

Now, Google has also started to enforce strict guidelines to ensure that any application that goes live on the Play Store is free of spam. Thus, remain updated with the latest guidelines and introduce them into your Android app development process as it is a useful method to prevent leakage of sensitive data.

Final Thoughts

It is true that with the increasing pace of hacking, it is impossible to be an Android app on the market that can’t be hacked. However, by focusing on the considerations and tips, as discussed in the article, you can avoid the risk to a great extent. Thus, do look forward to practicing all of them while developing your Android mobile app.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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