Why organizations should understand the value of Swift on security

By Jonathan Crowl

| Banking

Innovative mobile technology depends on the capabilities of its mobile developers, and developers can only go as far as their programming languages will take them. That was one of the motivations for developing Swift, a programming language that simplifies many of the practices needed to build innovative, scalable mobile solutions, particularly at the enterprise level.

Yet it’s also important to evaluate Swift on security matters, in addition to its broad programming capabilities. Even the most intuitive, high-powered programming language will fall flat on its face if it isn’t prepared to handle rigorous security challenges. And as a programming language built for the future, Swift faces particularly high expectations when it comes to addressing these security threats.

The healthcare, banking and retail industries are eager entrants into the world of mobile solutions, where technology can usher in revolutionary solutions such as mobile health apps, mobile banking and payments as well as data-driven personalization of in-store shopping experiences. However, because all these industries are charged with handling private consumer information, they need mobile security assurances that go beyond what other enterprise brands might require. Fortunately, these companies can leverage Swift on security considerations by bolstering the programming language with a range of security measures designed for modern-day threats.


Critical layers of security

The basis of Swift’s security features is Tranport Layer Security (TLS), a data encryption protocol that evolved out of the Secure Sockets Layer, a security standard developed by Netscape.

TLS provides three crucial features to improve security for Swift products:

  1. Data privacy: Data exchanged between a server and a client is not visible to outside entities.
  2. Data integrity: That data cannot be modified by anyone other than the server side or the client requesting the data.
  3. Server authenticity: The server can provide its identity and verify the source of data being requested by the client.

These various security measures are ensured through a chain of certificates that verify information and guarantee validity that the security checks are working as intended.

Additional layers of protection

The state-of-the-art security layers available through Swift come in addition to more standard security features, ensuring app owners have the highest standard of protection available.

For example, Swift developers can still add a protected API, and they can use both HTTPS Basic and OAuth2 authentication to verify user identities. These are standard security measures any mobile app development platform should offer, and Swift supports the integration of these features into any app using its programming language. Healthcare, banking and retail companies will still expect these security measures even if other ones are available, so this is a critical element of providing comprehensive mobile security to any enterprise developing in Swift.

Kitura-specific features to consider

An advantage of using the Kitura web framework is its ability to build Swift applications with added security measures not available through other platforms. Kitura uses the four following layers of security unique to its own operations:

  • Credentials: Using a number of authentication plugins, Credentials verifies user identities and provides greater protection at application endpoints.
  • Sessions: This later supports secure sessions through the use of private and authenticated cookies.
  • CSRF: CSRF defends against cross-site request forgery attacks, where an application can take over a user’s web server to perform unauthorized actions without the consent of that user.
  • CORS: CORS enables restricted resources to be accessed from outside the domains where their resources are housed, without the risk of a security breach.

Wherever consumer data is being handled, the best security measures are required. Companies in the healthcare, banking and retail industries face tough regulatory standards, but many organizations aim even higher to ensure their customers are fully protected from security breaches and stolen information. This continual need to upgrade protections is why these industries are turning to Swift, where a diverse approach to security can be effectively built and deployed.