Mobile banking has become the norm because of the convenience associated with it. This article delves deep to share not only the mobile banking threats but also mobile banking security tips you need to incorporate in your mobile banking strategy.
According to a recent report, 63% of Smartphone users have an at least one financial app installed on their phones. This is evidence that we are increasingly moving from physical banking to online and specifically mobile banking.
Mobile banking has completely revolutionized banking transactions and the way we manage our bank accounts. You can affirm that Internet banking has brought about convenience allowing us to bank from the comfort of our desktops, laptops, and phones. However, every technology comes with its challenges. And indeed, mobile banking has its share of challenges, which might ruin your mobile banking experience.
This article shares with you seven valuable mobile banking security tips to secure and protect your mobile banking activities. However, before we give you the advice, it is equally important to have a brief discussion on some of the common types of mobile banking threats.
The most common types of mobile banking threats
1. Fake mobile banking apps
There’s an upsurge of fake mobile apps aimed at stealing your banking information. Indeed, towards the end of 2017, Google removed up to 36 fake Android security apps from its Google Play Store. Fake mobile apps can easily fool you as they look real and genuine. However, when you access them, they can steal all your banking information and expose you to mobile banking theft.
2. Unsecured Wireless Networks
Unprotected Wi-Fi exposes you to risks of data interception, and network intrusion. Since such networks are not encrypted, they provide a perfect opportunity for hackers to steal your banking information. Whenever you access a website, it is advisable to check and ensure that it is encrypted. The fundamental way is to make sure that the website URL begins with HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure). Also, to avoid hacking attacks, the session needs to be encrypted throughout.
3. Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a scenario where fraudsters attempt to obtain your sensitive information by sending you fake emails, fake Whatsapp messages, and other kinds of messaging with links directing you to phony shopping or banking websites. In fact, they could try to imitate a well-known banking institution or shopping website like Amazon.
Research on phishing campaigns indicates that Mobile users are three times vulnerable to phishing attacks. SMS Phishing popularly referred to as Smishing is on the increase. In smishing attacks, you receive a message on your mobile phone containing a hyperlink purporting to come from a known and legit website. The minute you click on the hyperlink, it downloads a Trojan horse, virus, or malware on to your phone. Also, phishing campaigns may inject malicious malware programs that bombard your phone with unwanted advertisements.
4. Malicious Malware designed to target mobile banking
Malware specifically designed to target mobile banking is increasing by the day. The malware is mostly in the form of third-party apps. Sometimes they may be hidden in malicious spam emails. Mobile banking malware is on the increase due to the rise in mobile banking.
A good example is the Ransomware banking malware that is causing havoc to both individuals and organizations. According to a recently released Trend Micro report, there were more than 30,000 malicious applications published on Google Play in 2017. Hence Malware vulnerability should also be taken seriously.
5. Inferior security
Even legitimate banking apps lack the level of protection that they should have. According to a 2017 report by NowSecure, a mobile app security company, 35 percent of all communications sent by mobile devices were not encrypted. Most banking apps do not have multiple security layers, which makes users vulnerable to hackers.
As stated above, Mobile malware is on the rise. And will become prevalent over the coming few years. Non-encrypted banking apps allow attackers to intercept your traffic and inject java scripts to display fake login prompts or launch any social engineering attacks with devastating consequences on mobile banking users.
Top 7 Mobile banking tips to follow
1. Always install banking apps from official stores such as Google play/app store. It’s advisable to visit your banks’ official website and follow their instructions on how to download their respective app.
2. Avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks that you find in cafes, airports, etc. Alternatively, you can encrypt all your data by using the best Virtual Private Network ( VPN). But, you need to ensure that the VPN you use is competent and uses military-grade encryption such as AES- 256-bit encryption that is impossible to crack.
Here are the best VPN services for Mobile banking
3. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments that come from unexpected emails or SMS messages. Or even WhatsApp messages. Never click on any links claiming to come from your banks’ website. You had better access to your bank directly from your mobile browser. Also, never share any information about your banking details over email, SMS, or a phone call.
4. Remember always to log out immediately after you are through with your banking activities. You should also avoid clicking on options like ‘Remember me’ or ‘keep me logged in.’ Though most banking apps typically log you out after a short time, it’s an excellent security practice to be extra cautious and log out.
5. Never store your banking information like login ID/Password, Credit/Debit Card Number, and any other sensitive banking credentials on your mobile phone.
6. Another important security measure is to always secure your phone with a password or PIN. In case your phone gets lost, the person who gets it can use your shopping apps. Also, your phone should always be in auto-lock mode.
7. Lastly, but equally important, you should use only reliable mobile security apps. Such apps ensure that you do not land on a fake or malicious website designed to steal your banking credentials. The app will also automatically block fraudulent and malicious apps from getting installed on your devices.
In summary, it is essential to point out that there’s no single approach to being safe online and more so when you embrace mobile banking. A holistic approach is what is needed. Therefore, the seven mobile banking security tips in this article and others that we may not have mentioned will work to secure your mobile banking.