In today’s mobile world, our smartphones can essentially do everything for us. We are grateful for the several apps available today, which enable us to accomplish everything. Mobile apps operating on our smartphones perform a variety of tasks, from handling financial information on the move to monitoring your schedule (calendar). Since these apps have access to so much sensitive data, a mobile app development company must adhere to the highest security requirements while creating apps to prevent unauthorized access to the data.

Let’s explore the best practices for developing a secure iOS application, including how to handle, store, and process sensitive data as well as the suggested network configuration.

Secure IOS Application Development

1] Hardening Datastore:

Third-party App Store programs can access Calendars, Contacts, Cameras, Locations, Photos, and Social Networking accounts on iOS by default. On iOS, the user gets the option to accept or deny these accesses when the application is first launched. To avoid using this functionality, you can alter the device’s Restriction settings. This is often configured and deployed within an organization utilizing an MDM-based solution. 

However, there is still a chance that the user will agree to these access permissions, in which case the application will be able to access the data in these stores. You shouldn’t keep sensitive data in these datastores if there’s a chance that untrusted software will access it. Third-party applications can keep this data more safely than built-in storage.

2] Network Protection:

A VPN returns device traffic to the organization. A reverse proxy server mediates access to internal services and shields the internal network from intrusion. The reverse proxy server must authenticate all requests from devices in order to keep the application from accessing private internal resources. This means that trustworthy programs on the device must provide authentication with every request they make in order for the reverse proxy to verify the request. 

Only trusted programs that need access to the resources should have access to the stored credentials. To enable traffic inspection, one must forward internet requests from the application through the regular corporate Internet gateway.

3] Other Requirements:

In order to revoke credentials in the event that compromises the system or data, applications that store credentials must have strong server-side control methods in place. The program must appropriately manage the pasteboard. Elimination of debugging output is a must, device log files must not display sensitive data, according to the program. The IOS App development company should build applications with the most recent supported security flags to prevent the exploitation of any potential memory corruption issues. 

To defend against input injection attacks, one must use secure coding techniques. Applications that demand authentication at launch should, with a brief window of time for user intervention, likewise ask for this authentication credential when coming back into the foreground after being previously backgrounded.

User Data Storage Best Practises

1] App Sandbox by Apple

Every iOS app runs in a sandbox to ensure that it can only access data in its own specific home directory. A program must use iOS services if it wishes to access data that is not in its home directory. As a result, no other app can access or change the data in your app. Apple’s App Sandbox supported by UNIX user permissions ensures that programs run with a “mobile” user who has fewer privileges. 

Everything’s read-only outside of the app’s home directory. Resources and system files are all safeguarded. The available APIs prevent programs from escalating privileges in order to change iOS or other apps.

2] Using KeyChain to store data instead of NSUserDefaults

We may store tidbits of data that must retain after app launches and device restarts using NSUserDefaults. Since plist is not secured, anyone with access to the device can view all the information recorded as part of UserDefaults because it is in plain text.

KeyChain is an encrypted container for storing passwords for security services and applications. Users use it if they wish to save data in encrypted form. Both Mac OS and iOS use the same password management system from Apple.

3] API for Data Protection

Data Protection is a built-in security feature that is present in every iOS version since iOS 4. The files kept in an app’s app directory can go through encryption and decryption thanks to this feature. Developers may use automatic and hardware-accelerated encryption and decryption. The file and database APIs NSFileManager, CoreData, NSData, and SQLite all support data protection.

Although the feature is present by default, we can customize it for each file to improve security. Each file can adjust 4 different protection levels. All files are in encryption by default up until the initial user authentication, however, it may be sensible to raise the level of protection for some data. 

4] Detecting jailbreaks

On a jailbroken smartphone, a hacker can easily and quickly compromise the functionality and logic of the application. As developers, it is our responsibility to ensure that it is as challenging as we can for hackers to access the internal workings of the software. The logic to check for jailbroken devices as soon as the app launches should absolutely be present. And presumably terminate the program after telling the user. Here is a thorough article on how to find jailbreaks.

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