Five Tips for Developing Secure Android Applications

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Posted: August 24, 2016

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The virtual world is full of anonymous thieves and hackers who are nearly impossible to trace. Fortnightly the news would tick the headlines stating “Android devices hacked due to malicious apps”. Are all Android applications on the Google Play Store safe & secure to use? As a developer, it’s your responsibility to develop secure apps for users. You need to ensure the apps you develop do not intrude users’ privacy and tamper around with their data. Security is a major and crucial concern while developing mobile applications in today’s era. Android conquers mobile platforms with a share of almost 82.8% in the share market. The risk of being attacked by unwanted forces is very high due to the popularity of the Android platform.

An app developer is responsible for their app’s and users security

Encrypted Saved Data

However, if you are into Android Application Development, you can still take care of the security loopholes by interpreting these security issues closely with the help of the following tips & tricks:

Validate, always!

If your app has input fields like user name or passwords or anything else, it’s mandatory that you validate them as a developer. Sql injection queries can be fired to trespass the security and hack an account. If your app is about cloud backup, users are trusting you with their GBs of personal data. Once the account is hacked just because you didn’t validate your fields, the user can face a huge data loss. And your app can be reported as spam. There are few technologies like DEP and ASLR that can reduce the impact of security issues on the apps developed.

Use a Security with SSL and HTTPS — The Secure Socket Layer, also known as Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a common building block for encrypted communications between clients and servers. Apparently, a developer might use the SSL security incorrectly in such a way that malicious entities from unwanted sources may intercept an app’s data over the network. This is why it is highly recommended to use security while developing an app. Instead of HTTP, ensure that you use HTTPS where S stands for Security. Higher the security of an app, least are the chances of devices being hacked.

No More Data Leakage

  Data leakage is a major issue when a developer fails to understand that his app info might be accessible to other apps and app data is stored on other devices which can later be accessed unknowingly. While you are still in testing phase, the ‘Threat modelling’ is a part of that phase which ensures no sensitive and personal data is being leaked and copied elsewhere. So while you develop an app, always make sure there’s no data leakage by testing it aggressively from all ends and all devices.

Less Permissions

If you’re developer, minimize the permissions that your app requests. If you want to improve user adoption and inject a higher security method to your app, don’t ask the user for access to sensitive permissions. The more you ask for permission to access sensitive areas, higher are the chances that the users will never trust you. Messages popping up like “App needs to access your contacts/photos/calls etc.” can be a threat to a user’s privacy. It is now true that Android is going the iOS way in terms of security and restricting apps from fully tampering sensitive data of users. For example, users cannot delete any data from their internal SD card or external SD card through an app. They can delete it manually. So if you are developing an app that lets users delete unwanted images from their SD card, you need to instruct users to do that manually. This security has started from Android Lollipop.

Encrypt saved data

Data stored by an app is within its sandbox environment. That data us safe from other apps and even shared preferences of Android. This is only for unrooted devices. In rooted Android devices, restricted application space can easily be accessed. This is why data should never be saved in the form of plain text. If you want to store sensitive data, always remember to encrypt it using AES.

If your app requires passwords to be stored locally, store a hash and compare the resultant with the hash value of the new password. An Android Application Development Company’s responsibility is to ensure that from password authentication to storing of other sensitive data, everything should be encrypted. And if you develop Android applications, you should be taking care of the entire security of the application.

Developing a secure Android app is crucial 


Always remember that even one security loophole may destroy a user’s identity and personal data. Hope you take care of these security tips while developing an application. Your first and foremost concern should always be the security of an application. Users are now more security centric since every other day, the news headlines read “Android devices hacked”, “Identity Compromised of Android Users” etc. And to deliver the best to the user and assure them of a secure app developed is your responsibility as an Android developer. Develop the best, receive the best response, get genuine and loyal users.

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