Almost every developer thinks that native apps are more reliable than hybrid apps when it comes to mobile app security.
While it is true that to minimise risk there is more to take into consideration when it comes to native apps as opposed to developing hybrid apps, this does not actually happen if all counter measures are in place.
Mobile application development and security
Security within mobile application development needs to be considered both from the server side as well as the client side. For both hybrid and native development, server side security would be the same; however, there is a difference in client side security because the approach for native app development has its own layer of security, which is provided by the vendor for each available platform. The developer has to apply an extra layer of protection when it comes to hybrid applications to minimise the risk of attackers on the mobile application.
List of procedures that will help to minimise the risk of attacks:
- Keeping up to date with the latest framework and plugins version. From time to time, vulnerabilities are also found in the framework and plugins used when developing the mobile application. Therefore, when it comes to framework and plugins, developers need to make sure they are using the latest version. This will ensure security with all the known risks to date.
- Cross-site scripting is one of the most frequent vulnerabilities found in web and hybrid development. Given it is a common risk, developers need to implement an improved solution so that an attacker is not able to inject client side scripts.
- URLs whitelisting.When building a hybrid app, each developer will know which URLs the app will connect with. Whitelisting only these URLs will help, so the app is only able to connect with the specific URLs.
- Input encoding.When the application has a data inputting function, attackers can always attempt to insert malicious content that can damage the application’s server side. Each input has to be treated as important and an encoding mechanism should be applied to minimise such risks.
- Communication with server. When a mobile application interacts with the server, it is necessary to make use of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This is the standard technology used to date in order to keep connections between two systems safe. Important data is sent to and received by the application while communicating with the server, so it is important that SSL is used at all times.
- Code obfuscation. When building a hybrid app, code obfuscation is an ideal method to use. If the code is stolen and easy to read, the application would be susceptible to malicious attacks. Code obfuscation would allow for app reverse engineering and will make it more challenging for attackers.
In conclusion, when compared to native apps, hybrid apps are not at risk of losing the security race if all security precautions are implemented during development. When it comes to security, both have their advantages and disadvantages. It is true that when choosing a hybrid approach more effort is required to protect an application, but ultimately the same security standard as a native app can be adopted.