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Security vs. Convenience

Written By

Sean Goldstein

The concern of data security in today’s world doesn’t go unwarranted. With all of the recent hackings of major retailers such as Target, Neiman Marcus, and most likely more to come, the question that many of us are constantly asking ourselves is, “What is the correct balance between security and convenience?” Now don’t get us wrong, this is a very difficult question to answer because as a company you must be aware of making the experience too cumbersome for your potential client and as a result losing their business. Now let’s consider phone and mobile device apps which provide convenience and potential entertainment. Starbucks recently updated their app, which allows customers to pay for purchases of beverages and food directly from their smartphones. The reason for this update was the identification of security holes that made passwords and usernames available in clear text. Consumers that have their debit and credit cards connected to this app were unaware of the potential danger they were putting themselves in. This lack of awareness is crucial and consumers often aren’t aware of security risks they are exposed to by signing-up their credit and debit cards for different services. We understand that not everyone is an expert, but do your best to research and investigate these applications before you expose such important information of your own. Another example of app security or lack thereof is Snapchat, which allows you to send pictures or videos to friends with a limited shelf-life. The idea is that once the time limit you place on the content is complete it is gone forever, but as we know digital content doesn’t exactly work like this. The security issue that came into play was the theft of cell phone numbers that were attached to this app. In order for you to connect with friends’ in a more convenient matter, Snapchat allows you to connect your contacts and it will automatically find the profiles for you. Snapchat was recently hacked and many of these numbers were stolen. Just think of all the things that could be found out about you if someone has your cell phone number. Now this might seem trivial if you don’t have the app, but it is reported that over 4.5 million accounts were compromised, which means it is very probable that you are somehow connected to someone on this list. And these are just recent examples, security issues aren’t just confined to these two apps. Our advice is to be aware of what you are signing yourself up for by asking yourself a few key questions as: 1.      “Is it really necessary for my credit/debit card to be connected to this app? Is it truly worth the added convenience?" 2.      “Are they just asking for my cell phone number or is it absolutely necessary?” 3.      “Have I at least skimmed through the terms and conditions?” 4.      “Has the security of this app been breached before?” Cybercriminals are constantly looking for the next security flaw to exploit, so think twice before jumping to download the latest and greatest applications…no matter how convenient they may sound. Follow us at our new Twitter handle: @CapsicumGroup