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Inside of Mobile World Congress 2016- Future Technology Trend

The Mobile World Congress is the largest mobile trade fair, which wrapped up in Barcelona on Thursday. The conference recorded 2199 exhibitors and attendance of over 101000 people, which was covered by 3,600 members of the international press and media.

This year the conference was dominated by the arrival of advanced technology like wearable technology, robotics, advanced mobiles, virtual reality, smart machines, ultra-fast 5G networks, INVISIBLE CHARGERS, connected objects, HOLOGRAMS, LiFi evolution and development of other advanced gadgets. MWC was more focused on the future trends in technology and the business impact of mobility and other tech gadgets. Many announcements were made and many technologies were showcased which gave goosebumps.

Here are some of the launches and future technology announcements that were made in MWC 2016 which caught attention of the visitors, business-hubs and media:untitled-infographic

Wearable
Tying in with the internet of things is wearable tech, it is expected to be a big deal. Plenty of activity trackers, sleep monitors and other devices were showcased, which keep track of your health and wellbeing.

The focus was around the activity around the wearable pavilion, with everything from smart watches and glasses to smart fabrics demonstrated.

Michael O’Hara of the GSMA points out that we are embedding mobile in everything in our lives – which makes the show the perfect place to showcase the latest mobile developments.

This opens up new opportunities for vendors, app developers, and accessory makers. The smartphone will become the hub of a personal-area network consisting of wearable gadgets. These gadgets will communicate with mobile applications to deliver information in new ways and enable a wide range of products and services in areas such as sport, fitness, fashion, hobbies and healthcare. Thus, wearable devices connected with smartphones will influence the next generation of mobile application development strategies.

Virtual Reality
Virtual reality was featured heavily at the show. With the speech and support by Mark Zuckerberg and a showcase of VR sets on the stage of the Samsung Galaxy, it grabbed spotlight in conference.

The headsets for the Galaxy line of smartphones is partly powered by Oculus, which is owned by Facebook, and is a good gateway product to the more advanced Oculus Rift that goes on sale in the next couple of months.  The conference proved good chance to showcase the latest updates on VR, as the device had some tweaks when initially previewed.

Lots of other wearable headsets were also showcased which are designed to press your mobile phone into service as a screen, making it a more budget-friendly way to get into VR. HTC and Sony also unveiled its PlayStation VR. Google also announced their work on a new headset to work with smartphones.

The emphasis on smartphone VR is going to be the next big thing, given that most of the ingredients to turn your phone into a virtual reality wonderland are already there. Everything will change a thousand times before it ever settles. VR device will attach unnoticed to the frame of your glasses, which would be connected through mobile apps; maybe it’ll be powered entirely by a button on your shirt or your brain waves, which would be connected by Application. We’ll use VR for everything from simple games and movies to robotic surgery and wildly futuristic military applications, which would be operated by Applications. We’re building better apps for future to connect with VR sets.

Internet of Things
Mobile technology is a large part of making the internet of things a more welcome prospect for consumers. Connected devices would soon infiltrate everything from your home to your car, allowing them to communicate through more open platforms than before.

“Smartphones have become a sort of black hole integrating a huge array of sensors, but mobile is now exploding back out to our environments.

“Sensors and connectivity are expanding beyond smartphones, on our wrists, bodies, cars, TVs, washing machines, but also in invisible places in buildings and the world around us,” Forrester’s Thomas Husson wrote.

While there were lots of discussions and speeches about mobile simply being a subset and key to unlock IoT revolution.

The future of mobile app development isn’t simply about our mobile phones and tablets anymore. The Internet of Things will be even bigger in the near future, even though current efforts are being made to make IoT better. Smart objects will be a part of the Internet of Things and will communicate through an App on a smartphone or tablet. Smartphones and tablets will act as remote controls, displaying and analyzing information, interfacing with social networks to monitor “things” that can tweet or post, paying for subscription services, ordering replacement consumables and updating object firmware.

As devices start to get even more interconnected, the opportunity for software developers, to add value to these smart devices will become ever greater. Eventually, the competition between these devices will be mostly based on which has the best quality software. This is where the future of mobile app development becomes an ocean of opportunity for mobile app developers.

untitled-infographic(1)LiFi evolution
Speculation, Apple may deploy Lifi support in future iOS devices continues, and MWC saw pureLiFi launch its LiFi-X dongle, an access point that connects to any LED light to help create a LiFi network. Harald Haas, CEO of pureLiFi, said: “It’s exciting that so many of the tech giants are now engaging directly with LiFi through pureLiFi technologies… We have witnessed rumours that Apple is investigating ‘LiFi-Capabilities’ in their latest iOS 9.0,” he added, “We now have a rail-track technology for the lighting industry to develop exciting and new business models around light as a service (LaaS).”

With the advent of LIFI, the limitations associated with slow networks will be a thing of the past. Mobile App architectures will have to scale up with better server specifications and more optimized code on the front-end to ensure that they don’t become limitations in the performance factor of mobile apps.

Holograms Make An Appearance:
Which science fiction fan has not dreamed of being able to speak to someone far away by hologram? Several firms believe this will be possible when faster 5G mobile networks are running.

Among them is US start-up Leia Inc, named after the heroine of the “Star Wars” franchise, which presented a system that creates a 3D image that appears to float above the screen of a tablet.

SK Telecom’s stand featured a beam of green light which caused different images to appear inside it such as a dolphin, a heart or a gymnast’s movement.

The Hologram technology is in its nascent stage currently, but it has plenty of rooms to prosper in the future. It runs on a software that relies on ultrasonic waves. With the advent of mobile apps, the Hologram technology is going to make communication easier and intuitive.
In short, MWC represented all horizontal and vertical sectors of the mobile industry, which would be future of new-age technology.

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12 Tips To Secure Your Mobile Application

Cyber attacks and data theft have become so common these days especially when it comes to mobile applications. As a result, mobile apps that experience security breaches may suffer financial losses. With many hackers eyeing to steal customer data, securing these applications has become the number one priority for organizations and a serious challenge for developers. According to Gartner’s recent research, Hype Cycle for Application Security, investment in application security will increase by more than two-fold over the next few years, from $6 billion this year to $13.7 billion by 2026. Further, the report stated, “Application security is now top-of-mind for developers and security professionals, and the emphasis is now turning to apps hosted in public clouds,” It is crucial to get the fundamental components of DevOps security correct. Here are the 12 tips to secure your mobile application: 

1. Install apps from trusted sources:

It’s common to have Android applications republished on alternate markets or their APKs & IPAs made available for download. Both APK and IPA may be downloaded and installed from a variety of places, including websites, cloud services, drives, social media, and social networking. Only the Play Store and the App Store should be allowed to install trustworthy APK and IPA files. To prevent utilizing these apps, we should have a source check detection (Play Store or App Store) upon app start.

Also read, https://andresand.medium.com/add-method-to-check-which-app-store-the-android-app-is-installed-from-or-if-its-sideloaded-c9f450a3d069

2. Root Detection:

Android: An attacker could launch a mobile application on a rooted device and access the local memory or call specific activities or intents to perform malicious activities in the application. 

iOS: Applications on a jailbroken device run as root outside of the iOS sandbox. This can allow applications to access sensitive data stored in other apps or install malicious software negating sandboxing functionality. 

More on Root Detection- https://owasp.org/www-project-mobile-top-10/2016-risks/m8-code-tampering

3. Data Storing:

Developers use Shared Preferences & User Defaults to store key-value pairs like tokens, mobile numbers, email, boolean values, etc. Additionally, while creating apps, developers prefer SQLite databases for structured data. It is recommended to store any data in the format of encryption so that it is difficult to extract the information by hackers.

4. Secure Secret Keys:

API keys, passwords, and tokens shouldn’t be hardcoded in the code. It is recommended to use different techniques to store these values so that hackers cannot get away quickly by tampering with the application. 

Here’s a reference link: https://guides.codepath.com/android/Storing-Secret-Keys-in-Android

5. Code Obfuscation

An attacker may decompile the APK file and extract the source code of the application. This may expose sensitive information stored in the source code of the application to the attacker which may be used to perform tailored attacks. 

It is better to obfuscate the source code to prevent all the sensitive information contained in the source code.

6. Secure Communication:

An attacker may perform malicious activities to leverage the level of attacks since all communication is happening over unencrypted channels. So always use HTTPS URLs over HTTP URLs.

7. SSL Pinning:

Certificate pinning allows mobile applications to restrict communication only to servers with a valid certificate matching the expected value (pin). Pinning ensures that no network data is compromised even if a user is tricked into installing a malicious root certificate on their mobile device. Any app that pins its certificates would thwart such phishing attempts by refusing to transmit data over a compromised connection

Please refer: 

https://owasp.org/www-community/controls/Certificate_and_Public_Key_Pinning

8. Secure API request & response data

The standard practice is to use HTTPS for the baseline protection of REST API calls. The information sent to the server or received from the server may be further encrypted with AES, etc. For example, if there are sensitive contents, you might choose to select those to encrypt so that even if the HTTPS is somehow broken or misconfigured, you have another layer of protection from your encryption.

9. Secure Mobile App Authentication:

In case an application does not assign distinct and complex session tokens after login to a user, an attacker can conduct phishing in order to lure the victim to use a custom-generated token provided by the attacker and easily bypass the login page with the captured session by using a MiTM attack.

i) Assign a distinct and complex session token to a user each time he/she logs on successfully to the application. 

ii) Terminate the session lifetime immediately after logging out. 

iii) Do not use the same session token for two or more IP addresses. 

iv) Limit the expiry time for every session token.

10.  Allow Backup 

Disallow users to back up an app if it contains sensitive data. Having access to backup files (i.e. when android:allowBackup=”true”), it is possible to modify/read the content of an app even on a non-rooted device. So it is recommended to make allow backup false. 

11. Restrict accessing android application screens from other apps

Ideally, your activities should not give any provision to the opening from other services or applications. Make it true only when you have a specific requirement to access your flutter screens from other apps otherwise change to android:exported= ”false”

12. Restrict installing packages from the android application

REQUEST_INSTALL_PACKAGES permission allows apps to install new packages on a user’s device. We are committed to preventing abuse on the Android platform and protecting users from apps that self-update using any method other than Google Play’s update mechanism or download harmful APKs.

Conclusion: 

Mobile Apps have become more personalized than ever before with heaps of customers’ personal data stored in them every day. In order to build trust and loyalty among users and prevent significant financial and credential losses for the companies, it is now crucial to make sure the application is secure for the user. Following the above-mentioned mobile app security checklists will definitely help to prevent hackers from hacking the app.

About the Author:

Raviteja Aketi is a Senior Software Engineer at Mantra Labs. He has extensive experience with B2B projects. Raviteja loves exploring new technologies, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

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