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Mobile App Security Insights

How Mobile Hacking Can Damage Your Business Reputation

Jun 21, 2017 6:28:53 PM / by Sung Cho

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Mobile hacking. Those two words are enough to send shivers down the spine of any developer. As smartphones and tablets have risen in popularity, mobile apps have become the go-to way that consumers connect online, and hackers accordingly have developed more and more innovative ways to slither into your code for their own nefarious purposes. For the sake of both your team and your users, it’s become more imperative than ever before for you to safeguard against the mounting threats to your mobile app. 

While an attack often means that proprietary information and even user data leaks online, the privacy loss for such sensitive material marks only the beginning of the price you’ll pay for suffering a mobile hack. Your business is far more than the code you’ve developed, and it’s this big-picture perspective where the full dangerous effects of a hack will take their toll. Let’s delve into some of the wider ways your business’s reputation can be devastated by hackers.

Where’s the Trust?

When a data leak occurs, whatever information your users have inputted or have saved within the app becomes vulnerable. Because of this, you will find yourself dealing with a tremendous customer issue if an attack occurs. Your users placed their faith in you, trusting you to keep their personal data out of the wrong hands. Now that your app was inadequately protected, that trust has been (perhaps) irreparably broken. In this situation, customers may rightfully think twice about using your app and very likely might sever ties as soon as possible. 

Moreover, with your existing users threatening to walk away following a mobile hack, you’re ill-equipped to expand your customer base as well. It’s hard enough for you to win over new customers in the first place, but imagine how much more difficult if will be to grow once you have the checkered past of a mobile hack behind you. Instead, both prospective and existing customers will almost certainly opt for one of your competitors. With consumers more attuned

than ever to these kinds of risks, you can’t gamble with their loyalty or their trust.

Search Engine Failure

In addition to the loss of customer trust, a mobile hack can harm your online reputation. More specifically, your app and your business’s entire online presence may be compromised. No matter how hackers attack your app, search engines may be able to tell if there is a problem. Google, for instance, is known to blacklist sites that could be infected with malware, meaning that the search traffic you rely on to spread the word about your app will likely come to a screeching halt. Any website, social media profiles and other calls to action leading consumers to your app will be undermined entirely, leaving you without an online presence to market and legitimize your app. 

From Google’s perspective, it’s easy to see why the company would sever ties with infected sites, as it keeps its own customers away from dangerous destinations. However, you need to apply this same rationale to your own business. Search engine optimization is such a rampant focus these days, and the thought of your online reputation going so far off the rails should give you cause to re-evaluate your security strategy. Without any presence amidst search engines, how else are prospective users to find your app and give it a shot in the first place?

Keeping Watch

Through the eyes of both customers and search engines, your app may still appear to be in regular working order, even if a hack has occurred. Many attacks will be staged to keep the illusion that nothing suspicious has occurred, but customers new and old may be able to tell the difference. You could be turning off your user base without any knowledge that there is a problem. That’s why you need to maintain a broad view of your app’s performance.

Keeping tabs on your analytics will tip you off if something has changed. Any drastic dips in traffic could indicate that action is needed, and of course, you should always be conducting your own security testing to ensure that the customer experience of your app continues to match the high standards your users expect. By watching closely for clues that hackers have targeted your app, you may be able to curtail the damage and salvage your business’s reputation across the board.

Avert Disaster

While there may be no guaranteed way to keep your mobile app safe from hackers, you can take precautionary measures to greatly minimize the risk that your app will fall victim to an attack. We imagine that detailing the many ways in which your business can crumble as a result of mobile hacking has inspired you to make a change and secure your app from the ground up. Though mobile security seems like just another hassle, it has become an invaluable part of a sound business strategy and one that you can no longer ignore. After all, why would you risk your entire business and all the work you’ve put into building a brand that users can trust? It’s simply not worth neglecting the chance to protect your app with today’s sophisticated security technology, especially if the alternative is that your business may have to pay the ultimate price.

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Topics: Mobile App Hacking

Sung Cho

Written by Sung Cho

Head of Marketing at SEWORKS Co., Ltd.