Useful Tips for Mobile App Users

Alena Donskaya, 25.11.2013 17:35
Просмотров: 1830
Experts predict that by the beginning of 2014 one in seven Russians will be using mobile applications for travel; right now the ratio is one in fifteen. The majority of American and European tourists use apps to buy tickets, book hotels and take care of other travel needs. Experts say that it will take about two years for Russia to catch up and start using apps on a mass scale. One of the fundamental elements for developing this segment is security.  
 
According to TRN’s interview with Andrei Verbitsky, the CEO of KAYAK in Russia and the CIS, the groups among which the use of apps is most wide-spread are young people (age 19-27) – 46% and middle-aged people (age 28-40) – 37%. Older people (age 41-55) constitute 14%, while the portion of those older than 55 is no more than 3%.
 
What are the threats?
 
But the increase in demand has brought about the spread of fraudulent schemes. Perpetrators try to get access to the accounts of a user after he or she has paid for the services and entered bank card information, and then they use this private information for their own gain.
 
The latest research on public demand has shown that more than 90% of people prefer free apps to those that come at a price. The market reacts accordingly by producing software that is, for the most part, free.
 
The understanding of the way the owner of an app monetizes it is very important, since developing an app, updating it and paying the staff all require money. Profit can be drawn from selling services and additional content for an app, or placing advertisements on an app’s site. If there is no trace of any of these things, and all that is being requested of the user is private information (e-mail address, phone number, debit card number), chances are the makers of the app are out to take advantage of the user,” sales manager of the ‘UFS’ company Vladimir Shmatkov told TRN.
 
According to him, before downloading an app and using a service one should first verify the reliability of the publisher.
 
“Here, the brand serves as a guarantee of the client payment security. Sure, there are impostors out there, but the companies that are worth their salt always track the misuse of their brand name on the internet. One should get cautious if the publisher is an individual or an obscure organization with no site and no mention on the Internet,” he says.
 
Normally upon downloading malicious software the user is unaware that his or her smartphone has been infected. System files are left undamaged, but the price for sending text messages can be artificially increased, or the user’s e-mail can start sending out spam messages. Only an official app from a reliable developer can ensure the security of personal data,” explains Vladimir Shmatkov.
 
A showcase
 
To demonstrate the advantages of such services he told the TRN correspondent about a new app called ‘Railway Tickets’ (‘ZhD Bilety’ in Russian), which was developed by the company ‘Universal Financial System’ under the licensing agreement with JSC ‘Russian Railways’ (RZhD).
 
It is the first app that allows using the ‘RZhD’ services through smartphones with iOS and Android operating systems. Before being put on sale, ‘ZhD Bilety’ underwent testing process in JSC "VNIIZhT" (Railway Research Institute).
 
The app is free, containing a number of free functions: checking the schedule, available seats, service class and type. The traveler only needs to pay for the ticket. Using ‘ZhD Bilety’ one can place an order and buy a train ticket, pay for it with a bank card, get an e-ticket and complete the remote registration process. More than 50% of the app users have already noted its benefits and plan on using it again.
 
The essential stage when using a mobile app and paying for services is the actual payment and transition to the payment gate page. The payment process looks relatively simple to a layman: input the necessary data and click on ‘Confirm’. Reality is a bit more complicated: the acquiring bank carries out a financial transaction, the processing center arranges contact with the acquiring bank, the payment system establishes an inter-bank connection, and the issuing bank grants access to the client’s account via the payment system. Personal data should be secured on all stages, and the letter ‘S’ in ‘https’ (in the address bar) serves as an indication of an encrypted connection, which means that the user’s private information is blocked from external access.      

“Buying a railway ticket through ‘ZhD Bilety’ ensures personal data safety and rules out the possibility of illegal third-party intrusion. The quality of service in ‘ZhD Bilety’ is supported by the certificates which prove that it meets the security standard of PCI DSS,” specified Vladimir Shmatkov.
 
Tendencies and market prospects
 
According to a preliminary estimate by Ericsson Consumer Lab, by the end of 2013 smartphones will take up about 30% of the Russian market.
 
At the same time there is expert opinion saying that in the long run mobile versions of sites will supplant mobile apps, which can only work online.
 
Such is the conclusion that the IT experts of the ‘OnlineTour’ company have arrived at after examining and comparing these two principal means for using online services through mobile devices. It should be noted that local applications like games, calculators and other offline software will keep their share.
 
Some of the more popular browsers right now are Safari, Android Browser, Opera Mini, Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer, which collectively occupy 96% of the market space.
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