Android Security Vulnerabilities That Android App Developers Should Be Wary Of

Let’s explore some prevailing vulnerabilities associated with the Android platform that Android app developers should be varied of: 

Mobile Application Threats vs. Web Application Threats

Android app developers consider mobile application threats similar to web application threats, except for one stark difference, i.e., client-side security threats. To put it simply, these cyber-attacks specifically attack the front end of web applications through the injection of malicious code that is executed from the user’s browser. These threats can be detected by conducting penetration tests on the web and browser-based Android apps. Similar tests can be conducted on mobile-based apps; however android app developers are still looking for security solutions. 

User Origin Malicious Attacks

Launching a malicious attack on a mobile app requires significant analysis and planning. The first point of reference for most cyber hacks begins at the point of download, where hackers gain in-depth insight into the app infrastructure and vulnerabilities within the code. Since Android is open-source operating software, app code is freely accessible to all users, hence susceptible to user origin threats. Moreover, hackers can launch data theft on stored app information in rooted devices. Android app developers must actively test for user origin threats at every stage of app development, including incremental updates. 

Corrupted File Access

Android app developers may expose app environments to data breaches in the process of testing and maintenance. Neighboring apps on rooted devices may share permissions for file transmission, some of which might be corrupted. Moreover, external storage devices such as SD cards with expandable memory can expose the Android OS to data that is not secure and might hamper the device’s safety environment. 

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Data Vulnerability Due to Theft

Most mobile applications require some form of authentication to allow for user access. This includes data fields such as email ids, passwords, credit card information (in case of online purchases), legal identification documents, et cetera, all of which are locally stored on the application. Physical theft of mobile devices or laptops can lead to the loss of sensitive information and personal data, which can be subjected to illegitimate uses. 

Ineffective Data Encryption

More often than not Android app developers equate data encryption with data protection. However, the competence of encryption defines the strength of app security. Using new and previously untested cryptography may not be the best strategy for Android app developers. Instead, it is recommended to use separate data keys for encryption per app user and avoid storing the keys in a single location. Updated methods of data encryption will overcome many Android vulnerability issues. 

Transport-Level Security Concerns

Android app developers opt for Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for securing communication over the network by using Transfer Layer Security (TLS) for encryption and SSL to prevent sniffing. HTTPS is preferred to HTTP to identify the credentials of the server-side and ensure that we are talking with secure and non-malicious one by generating a certification validated code that cannot be easily replicated. This can be overcome using SSL pinning mechanism that accepts a singular certificate CA for entry. 

Hardware Authentication

Identifying individual users is a difficult task. Hence, most Android app developers use hardware device identifiers like IMEI, MAC addresses (depending on the device manufacturer) to do the job. These are somewhat impermeable on the hardware level but can be modified via software. Further authentication techniques such as two factor and/or out of band authentication methods are recommended to solidify the authentication process 

Inter-Process Communication

Android app developers use explicit and implicit intents for internal communication in Android mobile apps. While external intents are considered somewhat secure, internal intents are dubious since they can be sent from unidentified sources to collect personal data saved on mobile apps including location tags and financial data.

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