Key points of development secure chat for your mobile app

5 min read

In modern business, many operations are performed using mobile applications. They are used for marketing and sales, which makes them a source of new opportunities. At the same time, business applications are becoming a target for cybercriminals, which creates threats to businesses. Successful hacking of the application not only damages the reputation, but often leads to direct financial losses.

What applications most often attract the attention of hackers?

Most often under attack are those applications that contain a significant amount of confidential information. The use of this data by attackers may be detrimental to both the business and the end users. When an application is attacked, all its security functions are changed or completely disabled by hackers, which allows the theft of confidential information to be committed. Another factor that increases the vulnerability of an application to cyber threats is chat. Chat can be an element of any mobile business application, and you should make every effort to make instant messengers and chats safe. You should not risk and send unencrypted data, on the contrary, you should pay attention to instant messengers, in which encryption algorithms are enabled by default.

Not all users realize how important it is to exchange encrypted messages. If the messenger, instead of encryption by default, suggests using a special encrypted mode, there is a high probability that users will send unencrypted messages without even understanding it.

Types of messaging apps: enterprise and consumer

For the convenience of analysis, what potential security threats may arise, it makes sense to distinguish two large groups of instant messengers - enterprise and consumer.

Security threats can be associated with certain features of a particular application, using the platform without following the developer’s guidelines, as well as the specifics of legal norms specific to a particular industry. At the same time, the risks associated with the features of the application and incorrect use of the platform can relate to both groups of applications - enterprise and consumer, the third type is typical only for enterprise applications.

What ways can you secure the messaging apps?

1. Data transfer and storage has to be secured

Be guided by the following rule: to increase the security of the application, you need to reduce the amount of data stored on the client side as much as possible. However, there may be situations when confidential data must be stored on the device. To ensure the safety of such storage, there are also a number of technical solutions, such as Realm Core for Android or CoreData for iOS.

2. All the client-server communications has to be secured

There are different requirements in different states and industries. Compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards should be given special attention when creating applications, an important point is to ensure the security of communication between the client and the server.

Vulnerability can be detected in any data exchange technology with the server used in the application. In any mobile application developed by professionals, correctly configured TLS / SSL will be presented necessarily, trusted CA certificates will be used. These certificates will be attached to SSL along with properly configured chains. To achieve an even higher level of security, you should properly encrypt sensitive data before delivery via TLS.

3. End-to-end encryption has to be implemented

When encryption is used, data is scrambled in such a way using special algorithms that, even in the case of interception and theft of a message, it will not be possible to read its contents. Some form of encryption exists in many messaging applications. However, if the messenger has access to the content of messages, it becomes possible, based on their analysis, to customize advertisements that are oriented more precisely for each user. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that the loopholes left create vulnerabilities, and the security of such a messenger is reduced.

End-to-end encryption is a form of encryption in which only two people, the sender and the receiver, can read each other's messages. When using end-to-end encryption, decrypting and reading messages is impossible even for a company that has developed an instant messenger and stores this messages on its server.

Some features that distinguish the secure chat for mobile app

  • a unique key is created for each session, which makes it possible to talk about security at the session level (SLS);
  • a separate key, which is derived from the user's PIN-code, encrypts all data stored on the device;
  • the ability to send messages to the chat participant who is in this moment is offline. At the same time, messages are saved and sent to the addressee immediately when it appears online.

However, all efforts to encrypt information may be useless if access to applications and devices is not protected from unauthorized access by confidentiality functions, in particular, strong passwords. Constant vigilance while ensuring cybersecurity should be the norm for business owners. New potential threats to the cybersecurity of modern messengers appear regularly. To effectively counter them, you need to pay the most serious attention to the selection of features for your application.

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