Photo by Betsy Weber
There’s an app for almost everything, whether you want to order lunch, find a dog walker, or just while away the hours with a game that tests your manual dexterity. Apps are small, easy to download, and seemingly innocuous. If “Find My Keys” or “Shush My Dog” doesn’t work, you can always delete it, so you’ve only lost your time, and maybe the dollar or two you spent to see that a flashlight and a poorly recorded “shushing” sound don’t actually solve your problems.
But if you’re not careful, a poorly made iPhone or Android app can compromise your security. In addition to being a computer in your pocket, a smartphone is perhaps the most vulnerable computer you use every day. If compromised, a hacker can get not just your credit card information and passwords, but also access to your social media information that allows him to have a fighting chance of breaking into the rest of your accounts.
As you might expect, there are a number of tools out there to make your iPhone or Android safer, whether you’re a developer or just a user. Here are a few security tools you might find useful.
For users, try avast! Free Mobile Security
While you’re used to running virus protection on your computer, running protection on your Android phone might seem a little excessive. But, if you want to keep your phone secure, the avast! Free Mobile Security app gives you the full spectrum of security tools you need to keep your phone virus-free. While the app includes the expected features, like anti-virus scans, it also offers a number of features that will benefit mobile users specifically.
For example, the app can monitor app usage, so your phone doesn’t get overloaded with apps running in the background. You can also determine which apps pose the biggest security threats, as avast! will list which information is available about which apps in an easy-to-read table format. There are also a number of advanced tracking features you can use, from remotely locking, restarting, and even erasing your phone, to notifying you when the SIM card has been changed. If you “root” your Android, you can even set up a firewall to keep unwanted visitors away from your phone.
If you have an iPhone, avast! makes the Secureline app, which allows you to protect your iPhone when you connect to a public wifi system. By using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), Secureline can block out unwanted websites and hackers, and even eliminate ads when you browse the web. Similar services include Hotspot Shield VPN.
For developers, secure your apps through API management
If you create apps, rather than just use them, you need to secure your applications from hackers. While there are many ways to damage your relationship with your customers, one of the worst things you can do is make their private information vulnerable to hacking.
For example, if you open your API to other developers to make your app compatible with, and useful for, major players, be sure to use a gateway service, like Apigee or Marshery can protect your API from sharing information with untrustworthy sources.
Get out of the box
For a developer, it might be tempting to use out-of-the-box security solutions for your iPhone and Android apps. But out-of-the-box code is easily broken, as hackers already know the script. If you want to increase your app’s security, you need to do due diligence to ensure that your app doesn’t have any unexpected vulnerabilities.
Ensuring mobile app security is critical whether you’re a developer or just an app addict. By protecting your phone with virus and network protection software, you can prevent one of your apps from compromising your privacy and security. If you’re a developer, you can make apps your users can depend upon by protecting your API from hackers. As with all things security-related, a little prevention is well worth the trouble.
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