Top 10 Mobile Application Vulnerabilities Every Android Developer Must Know

Top App Vulnerabilities Android Developer Must Know

Top App Vulnerabilities Android Developer Must Know

Android is the most popular operating system for mobile phones with having more than 2.9M apps on the android play store. But, Google has removed so many apps from the play store due to various security reasons. As an android developer, one should be aware of these security vulnerabilities. There are so plenty of them, and a few crucial ones are listed below.

1. Insecure storage of information:

This vulnerability occurs when sensitive information is not stored in the device in a secure manner. We should always consider that information stored on devices is not secure because it can be stolen, and sensitive information stored on that device may be stolen. To overcome this vulnerability, apps should store sensitive information in keychain pairs. If the app stores information in the SQLite database, then data should be in encrypted form.

2. Server Side Vulnerability:

We should stop unauthenticated access from the server-side, but app design should include input validation checks and controls to reduce the load of work to be done by the server. We can check input data and stop any unauthorized activity from the app side before it processes the server. We can white list the required types of input data and the rest types of data can be blocked from the app side. We should do encryption for data receiving and sending from both the app side and server-side.

3. Binary Protection:

Rooting a device circumvents data protection and encryption schemes on the system. When a device has been rooted, any kind of malicious code can affect the device due to a lack of security, which can significantly alter the intended behaviors of the application logic. Recovery and data forensic tools normally run on rooted devices.

4. Secure App Source Code:

Bugs and vulnerabilities in application code are the starting point of breaking into an application. Most attackers will try to reverse engineer your app code and try to break your logic, and all they need is a public copy of your app to do the same. Keep the security of your code in mind while you write your code, making it tough to break through. You can obfuscate your app code before you publish it to the app store. Also, don’t forget to make a copy of your original source code before you obfuscate it for maintenance and enhancement purposes.

Also read: Top 10 Security Apps to Protect Your Android Devices

5. Be Careful While Using 3rd Party Libraries:

While using third-party libraries, be more careful and test the code thoroughly before using it. As useful as they are, some libraries can be extremely insecure for your application. The GNU C Library, for instance, had less security that could allow attackers to remotely execute malicious code and crash a system. You should use more secured internal repositories and exercise policy controls during acquisition to protect your apps from vulnerabilities in libraries.

6. Insufficient Session Expiration:

When a user signs out of an app, the identifiers that were used during the session are supposed to be invalidated. In case the server fails to invalidate the session identifiers, it is possible for other users to use those identifiers and can perform actions on his behalf. To overcome this, the best practice is to ensure the logout button is working properly in the application, and second, when the user clicks this button, their session is properly invalidated.

7. Cryptography – Improper Certificate Validation:

When the application is either not validating SSL/TLS certificates or is utilizing an SSL/TLS certificate validation system that will not correctly verify that a trusted provider issued the certificate. The server should be configured to disconnect the connection if the certificate cannot be verified, or is not provided. Any kind of data exchanged over a connection that doesn’t have a validated certificate could be exposed to hackers. The solution is that your application’s certificate validation is configured to correctly verify that a certificate is provided, and the certificate should be from a trusted source like a reliable Certificate Authority.

8. Brute Force – User Enumeration:

There are numerous ways for an attacker to determine if a user exists in the system or not. A Brute force attack is a technique to find an unknown value with the help of an automated process by trying a large number of possible values. For example, an 8-character alphanumeric password can have 2.8 trillion possible values. If error messages change when the username and/or password are submitted incorrectly, an attacker can determine the existence of a valid username/email address based on the error messages. To overcome this problem, we should always show an incorrect username or password so the attacker will not be sure the username is incorrect or the password is incorrect.

9. Information Leakage – Application Cache:

Data can be leaked from app caches, either through the main application code or via third-party frameworks. The devices can be lost or stolen and many users do not lock their devices. The cached data can be viewed by an attacker if he has access to that device. To resolve this problem, ensure that sensitive data is not accidentally leaked through the cache and developer can create a threat model for OS, framework, and platform to check and verify the way data is handled during URL caching, logging, copy or paste caching, app background, HTML5 data storage and analytic data that is sent to the server.

10. Test Repeatedly:

Securing your app is a process that never ends, day to day basics where new threats come and new solutions are needed to overcome them. You could invest in penetration testing, threat, and modeling to continuously test your apps for vulnerabilities. Fix them as soon as possible and update your application.

Want to learn more about Android development? Reach out to Dignitas Digital today! We believe in talent acquisition and nurturing the candidates who have the zeal to learn and grow.

Image by: Christina Morillo from Pexels

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