Training for a marathon. Tracking weight loss. Keeping a sleep journal. Counting calories. There’s an app for that. And there’s a lot of personal information stored in a fitness app.

Mobile fitness app downloads increased 50% during the first half of 2020. With gyms and work-out studios closed, fitness enthusiasts and couch potatoes alike plunged into the world of app-driven exercises and activity trackers. In a whirlwind of wearables, smart fitness equipment, and AI driving digital health applications, one must wonder: Who’s protecting all of the user data?

Consider the information a consumer on the path to wellness divulges in the confines of a mobile app: First, a credit card number to download the app or make in-app purchases (if that’s how it’s monetized). Next, location tracking. Then, other deeply intimate details like weight,

While these details may seem minor, they can become highly consequential under the right circumstances. In fact, one popular fitness app made headlines when its publicly available data accidentally exposed U.S. military bases around the world. Heatmaps showing the running paths of soldiers inadvertently published the perimeters of foreign bases in Afghanistan and Syria.

So what can developers and security teams do to safeguard user data and keep their fitness apps out of the news for the wrong reasons? 

1. Know your needs

Does your app handle consumer account and card information? Will your app security measures need to comply with any payments regulations? Does your app stream media or record content that will need to be secured?

2. Make security a priority

All too often, app security is pushed under the rug because it’s believed to be too difficult or too large of an expense to take on. If security is an afterthought and it isn’t made a priority during development, the consequences are even more costly. Data breaches that occur as the result of an insecure app feel deeply personal to consumers and they will delete your app and move onto the next one in a heartbeat.

Making security a priority helps establish and maintain consumer trust. Your users are inviting you into their lives and their workout routines – and part of your job is ensuring the safety of the data you collect as they reach their wellness goals.

3. Implement strong, frictionless solutions

Fitness app users are – quite literally—on-the-go. They’re movers and shakers and they don’t have time for clunky security checks to take away from their experience using your app. And neither do you. This means that the app security solutions that you choose must enhance rather than detract from user experience, while also standing up against attacks that will likely be waged by hackers looking to steal sensitive data.

Success story: How Verimatrix secures the KARA smart fitness mirror

Woman using smart fitness equipment

The KARA Smart Fitness Mirror transforms a user’s home into a versatile gym. When off, it’s a sleek full-size mirror, but once it’s turned on, it becomes an interactive device for in-home fitness that offers a wide range of celebrity-led workouts.

Synced with its companion app, KARA Fitness AI monitors a user’s movement along with key points of the body to give live feedback & track calories. Customer trust is key to KARA’s business – users are inviting the smart mirror into their home, where it actively collects and stores personal data.

KARA trusts Verimatrix XTD Prevent (formerly App Shield) to protect their technolgy, their end users, and their business.

We've integrated our deployment system with XTD Prevent's API. The API is easy to integrate with, and whenever we've had any questions, Verimatrix customer support has always been responsive and excellent."

Gunnar Karlsson

Head of Engineering

Need security solutions to protect your fitness technology?

Innovative technology requires flexible security solutions that adapt to your needs and grow along with your business – without detracting from user experience. Verimatrix offers easily implemented, zero code application protection to secure user data, safeguard your revenue, and enhance in-app experiences. Contact us today to learn how we can help keep the future of fitness secure.