Establishing trust with a secure mobile site
August 16, 2013
Square Wallet's password protection
It seems obvious that mobile payment applications and sites would require heavy security, but even apps such as Twitter are rolling out login verification. As consumers get more attached to their mobile devices, security is becoming more important.
In order for marketers to earn the trust of a consumer, they need to ensure that their mobile sites and apps are as secure as possible and offer a safe experience. Otherwise, the brand name suffers.
“A major implication for marketers is the potential for significant reputational damage for an organization if the mobile Web or app experience is not handled well,” said Jamie Cowper, senior director at Nok Nok Labs, Palo Alto, CA.
“The hacking of Web sites and the user credentials behind them has caused huge embarrassment for some major brands, Sony, LinkedIn, RockYou amongst others, as well as resulted in fines from regulators and loss of customers,” he said. “Poorly designed mobile apps have also created major negative publicity due to the ignoring of data privacy concerns allowing malware to get onto customers' devices.”
Just as there are risks with Web sites on desktops, so too there are challenges on mobile.
According to Mr. Cowper, the primary reason for these security problems is a poor understanding of potential security vulnerabilities by developers.
“A number of these problems have been well-documented for years, but still remain in existence as, typically, developers are much more accountable to quality and time to market issues than they are for security flaws,” he said.
"Additionally, there is also a large problem of third-party code, particularly in mobile applications where third-party advertising libraries will piggy-back on user permissions, send information such as user contact details, GPS location information and others out from mobile devices.”
Twitter now offers a verification system
According to Gary Schwartz, president/CEO of Impact Mobile, Toronto, there are 60,000 new malware threats this year alone. This number has increased threefold from 2012.
“Security risk is implicit in any system,” Mr. Schwartz said. “As remote access has migrated to mobile, risk has continued to increase.
“The ATM was more vulnerable than the bank teller," he said. "Wi-Fi was more vulnerable than fix line. Mobile is more vulnerable involving OTA delivery across the wireless network.”
Venmo's passcode protection
If marketers want to ensure a level of trust with consumers, they must provide valid verification methods that confirm a person’s identity.
“The key is to ensure that the authentication is strong enough to provide the necessary authorization assurance, without placing too heavy a burden on the user,” Nok Nok Labs’ Mr. Cowper said.
Mr. Schwartz advises that the solution is striking a balance between new innovation, ease-of-use and risk.
Marketers should be cautious and not rush to roll out the newest, coolest product before making sure that it is secure and safe.
“As the phone becomes our identity and financial credentials, we become more leery of the safe guards that are in place,” Mr. Schwartz said. “At the same time, fraudsters become more attracted to the space and spend more time on innovative ways to hack into the networks and mobile OS.”
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
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