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How to Build Robust and Secure Applications with Rust

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In today’s world, application security is paramount. Apps have become a part of our lives, offering support, gaming, banking, shopping, and many other aspects. Cybercriminals are also evolving their methods, posing risks for app developers and users. If you are familiar with the Rust, you should know it is the leading language for crafting a secure mobile application. What is Rust programming language and why is it a reliable choice to develop a secure app? We’ll explore this in this post. 

Application Security Has Never Been So Important

Data shows that protection is the key demand for today’s apps:

  1. In 2023, the number of cyberattacks increased by 38% compared to 2022.
  2. The average cost of data leaks reached $9.2 billion worldwide. 
  3. 75% of companies believe their applications are still vulnerable to leaks and hacks. 
  4. In 2023, 53% of companies in the USA suffered from data leaks. 

The data is indeed worrying. Under such conditions, apps’ functionality and appearance seem less important, as safety is a key priority. Still, only the blend of protection and functionality can offer a user-friendly application that is popular among customers.

Why Rust Is a Reliable Choice for Building Secure Application

Rust is a programming language specifically designed for applications. Its key priorities are security and performance – everything a modern user needs. Rust has several features contributing to app safety:

  1. Ownership system. Rust’s ownership system guarantees the absence of memory problems. It prevents memory leaks.
  2. Safe features. Rust offers many functions that help with a safe code. For instance, developers can use “Result” and “Unwrap” commands to prevent crashes.
  3. Analysis tools. The language supports tools like “Clippy” to identify errors at early stages. This also contributes to safety. 

Finally, the language was designed specifically for app creation. It contains all the necessary functions and commands for smartphone applications, regardless of their purpose. 

Building a Secure App with Rust: Practical Tips

So, where start? When you know the application’s purpose and basic functionality, it is time to begin the development process. Rust offers a whole set of tools and functions. You just need to use them wisely. 

Define Security Requirements

For each program, potential threats differ depending on data gathering and functionality. Explore what sensitive data your application will store or process — for instance, financial information, personal data, or corporate secrets. After that, define potential threats. Sure, no one can predict the types of attacks, yet you can assume them depending on the application’s purposes. 

Use Secure Coding Practices

To do this, simply follow Rust’s secure guidelines. The Rust team regularly posts new updates on security measures. Use the language’s official website as your guide to security. Among well-known commands are “Unwrap”, “Expect”, and “Result”. As mentioned earlier, commands prevent app crashes, which can render programs especially vulnerable to data leaks.

Set Notifications on Security Issues

Use “Clippy” and “Cargo audit” tools. They will notify you if there are app errors or potential hacks. This helps to prevent issues in advance before a human can see them. Basically, if code crashes and something unusual happens, you will see it. 

Additionally, use security libraries like “Hashbrows” and “Ring.” These libraries provide additional security features but remember to update them regularly. Otherwise, they won’t help with the newest hack tools. 

Conduct Penetration Tests

App development is not the end of your project. After the app is ready, you should regularly check its reliability. Experts recommend conducting regular penetrating tests. You can utilize penetration methods on your own or hire testers to gain an understanding from the outside. Such tests help you decide what protective measures are needed now. 

Set Automatic Reports

Rust has another interesting feature for developers. Since you need documentation and regular reports on the app performance, you can ask Rust to provide them separately. For this, use the command “Rustdoc”. With its help, Rust will generate documentation from your code comments. This helps you and, most importantly, others understand the codebase. For instance, experts recommend using it for collaboration and team editing. 

General Tips for a Robust App

Finally, don’t forget about the reliability and functionality of your app:

  1. Cater to both UX and UI. The way the app looks and the way it functions are equally important. If you are incapable of monitoring both, hire designers. 
  2. Use version control. If something goes wrong, you can switch to the app’s previous version and fix mistakes. Implement CI/CD pipeline for testing and switching between versions. 
  3. Stay updated with the community. The Rust community is active worldwide. Visit its official website for information about new tools and advice from seasoned developers. 

Finally, ask for external help if needed. Building an app is a complex process, and Rust is only one aspect of crafting a secure program. You may also require external testing, penetration checks, and good design.

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