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Grow Your Business Security

Heartbleed Bug: How to Secure Your Mobile Apps

Heartbleed Bug: How to Secure Your Mobile Apps
Securing your mobile device is relatively easy. / Credit: Codenomicon

News of a major Internet security flaw, dubbed "Heartbleed," has experts calling on all Internet users to change their passwords on a number of major websites, including Yahoo, Google, Dropbox and Facebook. But your data and personal information can also be compromised through the apps on your smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. That's especially important news for anyone who uses their smartphone or tablet for business.

Securing your mobile device is relatively easy, however. Simply log out of all your mobile apps, then log back in. This simple tactic works because mobile apps use authorization tokens to keep you logged into services such as Yahoo Mail, Dropbox or Gmail. Manually logging out of those services, then waiting a few minutes before logging back in, causes those old tokens to be replaced by new ones. The logout process is different for each mobile app, but most provide the option via the Settings menu. For example, to log out of the Dropbox app for Android, tap the options button in the top right corner, then select Settings > Sign out of Dropbox.

The Heartbleed bug, a major flaw in the OpenSSL software many sites use to encrypt and transmit user data, is a big deal. Though it was just discovered and patched this week, it has left many large websites potentially vulnerable to major leaks for the past two years. The flaw opened the door to attackers who could have scooped up encryption keys on websites thought to be secure, then accessed user passwords and other sensitive data.

Don't stop at securing your mobile apps. The most important action you can take is to change your passwords on potentially affected sites – especially if you use those services for business. It's even more important if you use Yahoo Mail, or Yahoo subsidiaries Tumblr or Flickr; those sites weren't patched until after the Heartbleed bug became public knowledge early this week. Also consider changing your password on Facebook, Dropbox and Google. For more information on what the Heartbleed bug is, and how to keep yourself safe, check out coverage on our sister site Tom's Guide.

Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.

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