• University of Southampton

Secure Android App Development

Get an introduction to mobile app security and learn how to develop secure Android applications, with this free online course.

8,959 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

84% of security breaches are at the application layer, according to Gartner research. With mobile devices and their applications holding more and more sensitive data – from people’s locations to their personal information and financial data – ensuring that they are secure is essential, if people and companies are to trust them, and prevent the reputational and legal damage of a data breach.

Make security a priority during Android app development

On this free online course, you’ll learn about the common vulnerabilities found in Android apps, and how to detect and mitigate them. These skills are increasingly in demand as mobile applications proliferate in the workplace, and increasingly proof of secure code is required before companies will use them. Make security a priority during your Android app development to protect yourself, and the users of your application.

Over four weeks, the course will explore three aspects of developing secure apps in Android:

  1. Why should you care about mobile app security? We’ll cover common application flaws, the cyber risk these expose, and how to control and mitigate this risk.
  2. Security architecture on Android. We’ll examine the way the Android operating system compartmentalises code and uses permissions. We’ll demonstrate how to secure interprocess communication (IPC).
  3. Static analysis of code. Finally, we’ll use the world’s most-adopted toolset, Fortify SCA from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, to identify and fix common vulnerabilities in Android apps. This is used by the majority of the largest IT companies, banks, pharmaceuticals, software vendors and telecommunications companies.

Learn with app security researchers and industry leaders

Secure Android App Development has been created by the Cyber Security Academy (CSA) at the University of Southampton, which facilitates use-inspired and multi-disciplinary research, education, training and outreach in cyber security.

The course has been developed in association with Hewlett Packard Enterprise as part of its mission to address the significant global skills shortage in cyber security and secure app development.

What topics will you cover?

  • Why is security in mobile applications important?
  • Understanding risk and threats in mobile applications
  • Introducing and using static analysis tools
  • Introduction to security controls for mobile applications
  • Security control: Android permissions and how to use them
  • Security control: encryption and how to secure stored data
  • Security control: authentication and how to secure network connections
  • Verifying the implementation of security controls using HPE Fortify SCA

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the importance of security in mobile applications
  • Identify cyber security threats in mobile applications
  • Assess the cyber security risk within an Android mobile application
  • Apply relevant security controls to the Android mobile application
  • Interpret the output of a static analysis tool
  • Justify appropriate trade-offs in implementing controls

Who is the course for?

Secure Android App Development is intended for anyone who already has some experience of mobile development, ideally on the Android platform. You could be:

  • a student currently studying computer science and cyber security;
  • a professional who needs to understand the security risks associated with software development;
  • or a programmer who needs to identify, analyse and manage risks, in order to make your coding and applications more secure.

What do people say about this course?

"I would like to say Thank You Dr Gary Wills, Dr Toby Wilkinson and your team for the deeper view in the Android security, now I think I have a better understanding of what's behind the discussion."

"I would like to thank all of the staff for taking the time to give me the tools to take forward and to apply these to my own work, and to give these skills to put me in good stead for the future and when time allows me. I will try and put these to good use for my own Personal Development."

Who will you learn with?

Dr Gary Wills is an Associate Professor, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Chartered Engineer, programme leader for the GCHQ certified programme in Cyber Security at Southampton

A Cyber Security researcher at University of Southampton, UK. My research areas are active document, secure document sharing cross-platform, enterprise security assessment and penetration testing.

Dr Toby Wilkinson is a Research Fellow in the Cyber Security Academy at the University of Southampton.

Who developed the course?

University of Southampton

Southampton is a place for ambitious people keen to stretch their intellectual abilities and help change the world.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by

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Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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