Mobile Apps Need Better Security

As convenient as it is, mobile brings plenty of unforeseen risk, cautions Aaron Lint, vice president of research for Arxan Technologies, Inc.

Lint will be a keynote speaker at the Mobile Payments Conference Aug. 29-31 at Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel in Chicago, Ill.

“Mobile is always on,” Lint says. “A lot of people use hot spot technologies that have unforeseen risks.”

Another issue is that too many financial institutions allow connections via untrusted devices, according to Lint.

For brands and retailers are quick to push out their mobile apps, but don’t always vet the security behind them, according to Lint. “There’s a lot of insecurity in many of these applications.”

While part of the reason is that retailers don’t want to cause too much friction for buyers in terms of identification, by failing to better ensure the security of these apps, retailers and brands both face the risk of breaches that can lead to punitive and reputational damage. The latter can be more costly, Lint says, pointing to the well-publicized breach of a couple of years ago. The retailer’s holiday sales suffered that year. Though the breach wasn’t due to a mobile app, those developing or promoting the apps should take note, Lint says.

Another issue is that the app developers and corporate users have little, if any in way of a security background, and whatever background they have is likely based on dated best practices, Lint adds. The fraudsters continue to revise their methods, so the security of mobile apps has to be revised to protect the app users.

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