Mobile apps and security: What you need to know

Appscore’s operations director talks encryption, geolocation and malware

A Melbourne-based app developer has spoken about the security pitfalls of smartphone apps, saying that while certain mobile environments are more susceptible to malware, such risks can be eliminated through encryption and using common sense.

Appscore’s operations director, Alex Louey, said forward planning by developers and consumers can eliminate the security risks associated with mobile apps.

“When it comes to collecting information, the concerns are around GPS location and can information be leaked, and what do you do to combat that,” Louey said.

“The only time there is an opportunity for that [information] to be leaked is when information gets transferred from a mobile phone to a server somewhere.”

With a team of developers creating mobile apps across both Android and iPhone devices, Louey said encrypting data can prevent many security hazards.

“For most of our clients, the concerns tend to be around personal information,” he said.

“We use encryption and authentication, so the same thing that gets done on any desktop computer and we use the same sorts of tools.”

Favouring Apple as having the most secure app store, Louey said mobile devices are often more secure than PCs, and that common sense should be used when downloading any external application.

“At the end of the day, both operating systems are much more secure than the nature of your desktop PC or laptop,” he said.

“The most important thing is to use common sense - when users download an app, its important for them to read the terms and conditions, and make sure they understand these.”

Louey’s advice comes as a Brisbane developer this week claimed that A Current Affair incorrectly used footage of his smartphone app in its exposé on the hidden price of iPad applications.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

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