If the Shoe Fits: Security? Who Needs It?

If the Shoe Fits: Security? Who Needs It?

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mLaunching an app is all about speed, often because there is so little difference they need to grab users before similar app gains traction.

So, like the construction company that cuts corners and in doing so delivers an unsafe structure, consumer apps are often launched with little regard to security.

“There’s so much focus on acquiring customers and delivering products and services that security is not top of mind.” –Tripp Jones, a partner at August Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

This isn’t an insider’s secret, but one that is well known to both the industry and those who prey on it.

The result is that as an app’s popularity skyrockets, so does its appeal as a hacking target.

Tinder, the popular dating app, last month acknowledged flaws in its software that would let hackers pinpoint the exact locations of people using the service. Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site, also said last month that hackers had gained access to customer data, including passwords and phone numbers.

Combined with previous hacks, the Target breach in December may have been the final straw for millions of people who are turning back to cash.

“…debit/credit card and personal data has also been reported stolen from Michael’s, Neiman-Marcus, Sally Beauty Supply and kickstarter.com. Plus, there’s the mother of all “oopses:” An Experian -owned database holding a stunning 200 million consumer records was cracked by a Vietnamese identity theft ring, it was revealed earlier this month.”

If people turning to a preference for cash transactions really is the start of a trend as opposed to a short-term fear reaction startups are especially vulnerable.

Even younger users, who seem to care little about privacy, will react negatively if (when) they are subject to identity theft.

More and more people are coming to understand that “secure site” is more oxymoron than fact.

Data security is much like the real-world infrastructure that politicians rarely fund, because the return in votes is too low.

Much like the bridge that needs to fail before people support the money required to upgrade it, sites need to be hacked before management is willing to focus on security.

Image credit: HikingArtist

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