Mobile applications handle very valuable information from users who use them: photos and videos, credit cards, banking sessions, personal and business documents, and much more. For its developers, the mission is to create apps that provide solutions without putting those who use them at risk.
The safe development is the best way to ensure the information of users who use your applications. Being careful every step of the way and trying not to make mistakes that endanger the user’s data will stop you from getting a bad result from the app testing and you won’t be forced to redesign the whole app. Therefore, here are some tips that every iOS programmer should consider.
Do not waste time on mechanisms to detect jailbreaking
In a real scenario, the attackers will not have time limits to try different ways to evade the jailbreaking detection algorithms that you have set and, eventually, they will be able to skip these controls. You can include them to add some extra hours to your work, but be rest assured that an attacker with enough experience will find the solution sooner or later - usually, within 48 hours. The same applies to the different techniques of binary obfuscation or DRM. For a secure iPhone app development, you should meet with top app development companies
Delete sensitive files correctly
When handling sensitive information, keep in mind that this may remain in the system in different ways. Remember to delete any information that may have been cached. Think that if you share information with other apps, you lose control of it and it can be stored indefinitely. For example, if your application needs to open a file, but cannot do it itself, it will be transferred to a third-party app and stored in its Documents folder, where it will remain until that other application decides to delete them.
Treat Xcode warnings as errors
While you are working in your development environment, check the warnings in the environment settings and treat them as errors. Most of the warnings generated by Clang, the static Xcode analyzer
, can prevent major errors if they are solved soon. Not only do they reduce the complexity of the code and ensure correct syntax, but they also help identify errors that are often difficult to detect, such as incorrect formats or signed errors, which can lead to memory management vulnerabilities. In addition, it is recommended to enable all static Clang checks to identify the use of dangerous APIs or the insecure processing of input data.
Trust Cocoa instead of patching
Both Objective-C and Cocoa are high level and prevent many of the classic security errors commonly found in C. Of course, there are still ways to introduce failures in memory management or object manipulation, but they should not produce more than one denial of service. Therefore, use Cocoa whenever possible and avoid adding code in C or C++.
Get the most out of ASLR
ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization)
ensures that the structure of the program and its data are loaded into memory in less predictable areas of the virtual address space. This includes the main executable, the libraries, the heap and stack, and any other file that needs to be mapped. This mechanism hinders the execution of code execution exploits.
Check the third party code
Performing peer-to-peer testing will not be enough to guarantee that the final result is free of security flaws. When you include third-party code in your project, make sure that it does not introduce vulnerabilities in your final application. Check the handling of TLS connections, the verification of external inputs, the storage of sensitive data, the use of categories and any other source of failures that you would verify in your base code.
Keep in mind that WebKit cannot be easily updated
Many developers prefer to rely on web applications rather than on iOS logic. This approach has different advantages such as the ease of implementation, flexibility or navigability of the content, and is common in multiplatform systems that seek to abstract most of their code in a central web application to which clients connect from different operating systems.
However, the use of components such as UIWebViews
can be associated with certain security risks. For example, the new versions of WebKit are not updated independently, but are deployed packaged with new versions of the operating system; Due to this, any discovered vulnerability will remain in the computer until the OS is updated.
If you have experience in web development and you are thinking of focusing most of the functionality of your app on the use of WebKit, keep in mind that the lack of update can leave your users stuck with a vulnerable application.
Avoid dangerous APIs
As mentioned earlier, Objective-C and Cocoa help prevent common risks in C and C ++. However, some APIs are still vulnerable to attacks of information theft or execution of malicious codes. There are many security checks that should be carried out during the audit of the code and it is impossible to mention them all, but take into account possible errors by incorrectly formatting strings provided by the user or by managing the memory (check that the size of the user's entries is correct and avoids API like strcpy and strcat). Ensure that you contact top mobile app development companies for your iPhone app development. Back