A chatbot is a rocking technology in 2018, and the same trends may go beyond it. Just like other innovative technology, it has own security loops and potential unique threats to deal with, and the current post is pinpointing what they are at tech point of view.
A chatbot is a buzz word in software industry thanks to the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology with the live chat or a messenger software. The AI technology enables the ordinary messenger application to behave like an intelligent human being. Thus, it can respond the queries automatically based on the feeds of data and ML (Machine Learning) abilities.
Therefore, Chatbot like smart chat application gains immense popularity and adaptability in the diverse domains with unique and innovative use-cases. Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, and WhatsApp are popular messenger service provider platforms. They are started working on devices with simple integration of their APIs in any app or software by-and-large.
Chat Applications Are Vulnerable
Thus, the majority of mobile users use any kind of messenger app by downloading and installing it. The increased usage of chat applications on mobiles has tempted many malicious elements to target other applications running on the same device by making chat apps as a vector to implement their malicious activities.
For instance, tempering app code, intercepting information, data theft, data breach, and various injections to accomplish their bad intentions. In due course, finance & banking apps, healthcare apps, and enterprise apps are most vulnerable due to vital information they carry and exchange.
For the software industry, smart chat applications or messenger applications are new and emerging technology from user experience perspective. However, at a technical point of view, it relies on the standard and secure Internet protocols, which are existing and improving all the ways including security since a decade.
Therefore, it is not fair to say that new technologies are vulnerable and posing the security threats, but it is increased usage of smart chat applications, and attention of hackers like anti-social elements are true reason behind it.
How to Secure Messengers
With these insights, let’s see how messengers are functioning technically, and we can enhance its security further. When a user sends a query request to the chat application, the request first goes to the parent platform (Chat engine/service provider) to verification of user identity.
After passing the authentication and verification process, the request gets its response in highly personalized and logical ways from the Chatbot or smart chat application servers. The same process goes vice verso when Chatbot sends the answer to the query to the user.
Thus, we have enough room to make data exchanges take place while using chat module in a messenger application on any devices be it desktop or smartphone.
There are three common ways assure the security of a messaging app.
No.1 – Securing Data Storage & Data Exchanges
Chat application often contains sensitive data in the form of conversations and money transfer details in the case of banking or payment gateway applications integrated with messenger app like Facebook, and other messengers provide money transaction features or shopping cart facilities with ‘Buy’ button.
In such conditions, chat app developers have to assure that the fewer data remain on the storage at client-side. Or you can successfully begin with Android chat app development instead. Some of the quality messenger app platforms always provide cloud storage services with real-time updates facilities. It cuts the local storage of conversation data.
Despite such measures, some data need to store locally on the devices in the application database. The security of these data needs to address by frameworks recommended by the respective mobile OS platforms.
For example, iOS developers follow Apple’s recommendations and use Realm and CoreData frameworks. These frameworks use OpenSSL technologies, all with transparent encryption and decryption processes using the latest Hash verification.
Many developers use local storage-type like SQLite and secure it with SQLCipher library, which gives 256-bit AES encryption. Of course, encryption ends with some lapse in performance, but gains in security front are significant.
No.2 – Securing Client-Server Communication
Most of the hacking and data breaching take place when server compromise anyhow. Therefore, tight security at server-side is essentiality. However, the most important thing is securing client-server communication that carries various levels of sensitive communication data and transaction details.
The best way to secure client-server communication data is to encrypt data before sending it via TLS. Thus, setup TLS/SSL properly and configure chains with trusted CA certificates.
No.3 – Implement End-to-End Encryption
It has seen that many chat service providers analyze the communication data somewhere in between and push contextual ads accordingly. It creates vulnerability despite high-end measures taken upfront. Therefore, it is important that once data from sender encrypted, it must not decrypt in mid-way or on the server during the storage until it reaches on receiver’s interface.
The entire process is called as end-to-end encryption where no chance remains for an interception on the server and read the data. In due course, Open Whisper Systems Signal Protocol has developed used in Facebook messenger as well as Telegram like high-quality chat applications and services as third-party providers.
Chabot Security Strategies
Today Chatbot available on multiple platforms and consists of own security responsibilities. If we look at the most common traits of the security strategies of these smart chat application platforms, the cumulative picture would be:
- Strong user identity authentication to fight against the username and password hacking
- Authentication timeouts to expire ideally running sessions for the sake of security
- Two-factor authentication for strengthening login security
- Biometric for advanced and foolproof authentication
- End-to-end encryption to eliminate anything happening in between
- Self-destructive message for the safety of messages containing highly sensitive information
These are some essential and significant security measures to secure a messenger application running along with other apps containing potentially sensitive data and carry data exchanges. If you are one of the clients whose mind is blowing with a messenger app idea, you must have a capable team of messenger app developers SysBunny to deliver competent and quality throughputs.
Would you like to share your ideas regarding messenger app security or your experiences with existing apps and platforms? We invite you cordially in comments.