Best practices to develop secure mobile apps.

Best practices to develop secure mobile apps.
Photo by Shahadat Rahman / Unsplash

Develop mobile applications? Sure... Make them safe? That is another issue.

It is no secret that technology has changed the way we do things today. Just as we said last week in our article "Top 7 reasons to have an enterprise mobile application", mobile applications offer more than entertainment and are used by companies, among other things, for monitoring and managing processes , as well as for planning and coordination of strategies and key activities. The applications allow the user to be more productive, communicate, train, interact with other people instantly, or even educate themselves.

However, as they are used by a large number of people, apps have become the target of many hackers who seek to infect our devices with malicious software for different purposes, one of them and the most dangerous, stealing sensitive data.

From the above, the need arises to create apps that are 100% secure, that is, that cannot be compromised by attackers. Today we will give you some tips that you should consider when developing a truly secure mobile application.

When we start the development of a software, the stages of the development life cycle must be defined, in this case, the development of secure applications that must be composed, at least, by the following:

Photo by Maximilian Weisbecker / Unsplash

Security requirements.

Guidelines must be defined and established. That will help us anticipate the risks to which the app will be exposed on a daily basis. For this, some factors must be taken into account:

  • The type of information and data to be processed and stored (personal and/or financial data).
  • The profile of the people who will use the app.
  • Specific functions and use cases.
  • Legal, regulatory and contractual requirements with clients (password complexity, storage media encryption, network segmentation, among others).

The security architecture uses a defense-in-depth approach to mitigate and contain attacks. Using web servers, databases, certificates for data transport encryption and monitoring applications; the characteristics of confidentiality, integrity and availability defined at this stage by both the client and the specialists must be complied.

Threat model and security design.

After defining the security requirements, the functions and the services that the application will provide, the threats that affect each of the components must be evaluated. To carry out this evaluation, it is necessary to identify which systems will have access from the Internet and which will only be restricted to specific users within the internal network.

Likewise, the type of data that will be processed and stored in each one must be identified. The security design must address the results of the threat model to avoid vulnerabilities when programming and managing applications.

Secure development and programming.

In this phase, common practice standards should be prioritized, as well as pre-authorized code routines.


In this stage, it must be validated that the designed controls were implemented correctly, as well as designing a test plan. Expert diagnostic audits and penetration tests help identify risks and vulnerabilities that might go unnoticed earlier, and provide valuable information to developers for fixes in later releases.


Applications that use third-party libraries and components must be constantly updated to prevent unpatched critical vulnerabilities from affecting data security.

The secure application development life cycle is a tool that enables organizations to maintain the quality of business components supported by information technologies over time. And just as we said in other articles, avoiding security breaches is of the utmost importance today. When we talk about cybersecurity within the development process, we tend to think that it will slow down the process to obtain a final product, therefore, we leave it for the end; that is, once the product has been developed, it is evaluated and corrections are applied on the fly to guarantee its security. But this idea could not be further from reality, security can also be synonymous of agility.

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