Web developers – How to secure your mobile website

Are mobile phone sites safe?

We’ve quickly moved away from desktop PC’s and, instead, we’re browsing mobile sites on tablets and smartphone more than ever. These sites are no longer a simple gimmick as they provide a vital source of income, business and simple traffic for those businesses that utilise them.

Yet, in the wake of recent news such as the Heartbleed attack, are mobile phone websites just as secure as desktop ones? We often assume these sites are underdeveloped, often thinking about the early designs or “mobile versions” that looked like simplistic blogs more than sophisticated websites. With that in mind, is there more going on behind the scenes and, if so, what can be done to bring this to the forefront and reassure people?

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Mobile shopping

Today, data is one of the biggest black markets out there, with many criminals looking to gain access, often through hacking. Given the current popularity of online shopping, especially from mobile devices, a clear target can easily be made. If mobile devices are seen as weaker, smaller computers, then wouldn’t hackers likely target these first?

However, the added sophistication of smartphones brings similar means of protection as desktop connections. Popular desktop browsers, such as Chrome, are also available in mobile variants, so it can also be argued that big, serious developers are actively improving the area of mobile browsing and mobile shopping.

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Encryptions

One of the easiest ways to steal data is to “listen in” on communications between a device and your website. It is often thought that mobile signals were easier than encrypted connections but in today’s world, information sent from your phone can be encrypted just as easily. If you’re responsible for a dedicated mobile website then, just like the desktop one, it needs to be secure.

As an example, you can buy SSL certificates for your mobile site just as you would for your normal website. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, encrypts the information and only gives the key to you and the visitor in question. Anyone interrupting this flow of data would not be able to interpret what they see, thus keeping the valuable details safe.

Keeping up to date

All of this means it is often very easy to keep up to date. For example, as its core, the Heartbleed attack was nothing more than using an old exploit. Current patches and OpenSSL certificates have worked around this, preventing it from being used again.

This goes for both mobile and desktop websites. If you regularly update them and ensure you have the right certificate, you can ensure a safe website that upholds the very best in online security.