Basic Security Checks for Chat Service

Normally, we come across situations where we need to decide between build or buy. Ultimately, we need to focus on our core technologies and business. We use different SaaS products to maintain our fast growth. Knowing about the security protocols of these services is an essential part.

One of such services is the chat service. In this article, we will cover basic security checks developers need to consider while integrating chat. Even if you are building your own chat component, you should consider these checks.

5 Basic Security Checks for Chat Service

All APIs call over HTTPS

In most of the cases, you need to call the APIs of your service provider to send or receive information. This information might be very private for your users or your business. You need to secure the transport layer and ensure that you are communicating with trusted resources. For this, your first check should be to ensure that all the APIs calls you are making must be on HTTPS.

Two-factor user authentication

User authentication is the best thing to do to avoid any unintended users to log-in to your chat system. You can authenticate the user from your backend before giving them access to the chat system. Sometimes, it may feel like an extra effort but this will give you complete control over authorizations.

Your chat service provider should have the configuration to provide your own authentication URL where user’s credentials should be verified. This will enable you to take other security measures such as expiring user password after some time. You can check out how you can configure it with Applozic.

Identify the source of any incoming calls to your servers

You might be using proactive callbacks from third-party servers to your backend servers to get some event-based data. For example, if messages are not delivered to a receiver within X minutes (let’s say 5 minutes), post messages to your backend servers. Sometimes we keep these webhook URLs open. Calls from an unidentified source might cause potential damage.

Your chat service provider should have some setting to pass parameter or header in each call. You can control and change this setting anytime to identify the source of the calls to your backend.

We, at Applozic, provide similar configuration to define your own token which we pass in each call as a header.

Real-time updates to authenticated users

You must ensure that data transferred is intended to intended users only while sending real-time updates.

Encryption of your chat data

It is very important to understand if you really need encryption of data and what level of encryption you need? You might not need any encryption if your chat service covers all of the above points and you have configured it correctly.

However, based on the nature of your business and usage of the chat data, you can decide whether to encrypt the data or not. For example, if you are using chat service in some kind of social app where chat data directly belongs to your users, you may enable E2E encryption.

Another usage case might be customer support, where chat data significantly connected with your business and you might need to analyze data for improving services. You can keep it to only encrypting data in motion or even avoid it.

It is really important to implement basic security checks for any service that you use. Especially in the light of recent major data leaks and privacy mishaps. These basic checkpoints will make your system more reliable and robust.

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