The first thing that users have to do when starting a new mobile app is to authenticate themselves to the system. Authentication is a process of checking your personality. In simple words, when you log into an application with a name and password, you authenticate. In this article we’ll cover which authentication instruments are utilized to deliver secure apps and protect users’ data.
Methods of building authentication in mobile apps
1. Session-based authentication. After the user logs in, the server creates a session ID which is stored in the user’s browser as a cookie. The cookie is sent with every request if the user stays logged in. Then the server compares the ID in the cookie with the session data stored in the memory to check the user’s ID and respond with an appropriate state.
2. Token-based authentication. JSON Web Token (JWT) is frequently used by many apps instead of sessions. The user information isn’t stored on the server or in the session, and JWT used for clients is not stored either.
3. Passwordless authentication. Instead of entering their login and password, users enter their email only. The app sends a one-time link to this address, the user clicks on the link and automatically enters the app. Also, the link may be sent via SMS, but in this case the app should be merged with some SMS service.
4. Single entry point (Single Sign On, SSO). This approach is implemented in Google services. For example, when logging into a single Google service (e.g. Gmail), the user automatically gets access to all the company’s services (e.g. YouTube).
5. Social sign-in or Social Login. Users can authenticate using their accounts in social networks. Then they don’t have to register separately in the app.
6. OAuth 2.0. It’s an open protocol that provides limited access to protected user resources without having to pass a login and password to a third party. This mechanism is used by such companies as Google and Microsoft, and users can share information about their accounts with third-party applications or Web sites.
Other types of complete authentication security
The most effective way to secure the app is to enable a two-factor authentication where the first factor is entering a password and login, and the second factor is validation. There exist several ways of validation:
- via SMS,
- via PIN,
- biometric (fingerprint, face or eye),
- by the Smart Card or Proximity,
- using a digital certificate.The above-mentioned methods of validation have their benefits and drawbacks, and it’s up to an app developer to decide which method is the best in each specific case.
As you can see, there’re a lot of technologies that help authentication mobile developers provide their apps with authentication security. Being is a very complex process it requires practical skills and a deep subject knowledge. Сontact Softvelopers if you’re ready to build a secure mobile app with an effective authentication process. We’re looking forward to giving you expert advice and delivering the app that will best fit your business needs.