It doesn’t matter what program you use; cybersecurity in app development must be adhered to every step of the way. It is especially crucial for Java development, as this programming language is one of the most popular in the world.
Java is the top developer platform in the world, according to tech giant Oracle. More than 10 million developers use the program, which runs on 13 billion devices.
These are great numbers for Java. However, they also signify vulnerability. This many users and devices mean many gateways for hackers and other malicious parties.
Cybersecurity must be a priority in the app development process. Here are the best practices Java developers should adopt:
Take advantage of Java’s module system to isolate code
One of the reasons for Java’s popularity is the module system. This mechanism allows developers to package a Java application or API into a separate module. Doing so would secure the Java code.
The module system is intended for reuse, which may pose more security risks. But because of the system, codes outside the module can access public interfaces and classes. However, classes and interfaces within a module are not accessible even when they are public.
By doing so, you are protecting the implementation specifics of your projects. Make sure you check and review all packages for export to ensure no security-sensitive variables are exposed.
Only use trusted libraries
A lot of codes are sourced from public libraries, but it’s best to choose carefully and prioritize security over convenience. Public libraries are incredibly vulnerable because of the lack of restrictions. In contrast, open-source libraries are different because they have rules and regulations for collaboration and sharing. Users also report irregularities in open-source libraries, which add to their secure nature.
There is nothing wrong with using free libraries, frameworks, or software as long as you are discerning and meticulous about the source. Check if the library has a good track record through reviews or by simply asking your peers. If the library is widely used and accepted, then it is likely safe. But always do your due diligence.
Simplify your code
Simplicity is another reason why Java is so popular. It is easy to use and learn.
Simplicity is also an advantage when it comes to cybersecurity. After all, the more code you use, the more potential entry points you create for hackers. To keep it simple, compartmentalize API and create modularity. More importantly, be private with every step of the coding process.
Streamline your Java code and keep it clean. Do so by minimizing classes and method sizes. Limit interactions as well because they provide portals for malicious parties.
Serialization has become common among programmers because it makes any object easy to save and transmit. Serialization offers a shareable format, making it easy to master and customize. However, many vulnerabilities are found in serialization. The issue is serious enough that Oracle has announced its intent to end Java serialization.
An Oracle top manager called serialization a “horrible mistake” because of its many loopholes when it comes to security. When developing your app, it’s best to avoid serialization and other apps and programs that accept serialization. The process can expose inconspicuous classes.
Provide protection for exception handling
Exception handling is the reaction to unwanted or unexpected occurrences when the program is running. It is how the program tackles operational issues to keep the system from crashing. Without exception handling, there will be disruptions in regular operations.
Programmers and developers work to prevent any error, misconfiguration, or bad input in the system. However, if they can’t be prevented, putting exception handling in place is the best way to deal with them.
However, security must be integrated into protection handling. Exceptions may contain sensitive information that could be detrimental to the company when exposed. A cybercriminal could easily entrap the internal mechanism of applications through input arguments.
If exceptions cannot be prevented, sift out sensitive information and ensure they are kept private, safe, and secure. But the best solution for cybersecurity is to reduce or eliminate exceptions in the first place.
Keep hashing data
Programmers and developers need to up their game in terms of using passwords and pass keys, which should always use the hash function. Hash user passwords through the salted hash and the SHA-2 hashing algorithm.
Hashing algorithms are an excellent safeguard against malware. They are not just for passwords. Tech professionals use hashing algorithms to convert large input data into a smaller final output. By doing so, data becomes more secure and more difficult for hackers to interpret.
Hashing can encrypt and decrypt digital signatures, verify document authenticity, and index data.
Don’t log sensitive information
Storing information within a system is very convenient, especially when you consider the ease of transferring data when necessary. However, it’s also the easiest way for the application to become vulnerable. Hackers will jump at the prospect of such easy data theft. Sensitive information must not be logged into the Java program, or any system for that matter, especially when it is not necessary.
It is also important to limit access. Create a secure code to store sensitive information with only a handful of vital personnel knowing the code. If a large team requires access to such data, use an encryption library.
Use a virtual private network
Sometimes, the simplest things make a huge difference when maintaining cybersecurity in application development. A VPN encrypts data on a developer’s computer or device, making it impossible for hackers to gather information for their cybercrimes. The best VPN such as ExpressVPN, is one that provides privacy, safety, and security without compromising speed.
Developers not only need to protect data but their app designs, programs, and other digital products with their intellectual property. VPN masks connections and blocks online trackers to prevent hacking.
About 95% of enterprises reportedly use Java as their primary programming language. That’s a lot, which also means that many hackers know how the system works.
It is critical to employ secure coding practices when using Java. Implementing and institutionalizing these steps will ensure cybersecurity in application development.