Following on from our post on Mobile Friendly – The Facts, a study released this week by The Federal Reserve in America shows that 22% of mobile phone owners made a payment on their device in 2014.
It’s not only online payments showing an increase, either! Mobile banking has become extremely popular, using dedicated banking apps – 39% of smartphone users now do their banking via their phone, an increase from 33% in 2013 and 28% in 2012! Not only that, but mobile log-ins via either app or mobile browser have increase by 81% PER YEAR since 2010, and the banks are noticing the change – in the USA alone, transactions performed in a physical branch has shrunk by 3% overall in the same period of time!
Great news for the banks – after all, this cuts costs and the number of bums on seats, but what does it mean for security? Whilst people may think it’s safe to be using an official app released by their bank to log in and move money around, that’s only true to a certain extent – the security of the app is one thing, but the security of the network the phone is logged on to is quite another! It may be common sense these days to use ONLY a secure Wi-Fi network to access any type of private data, but it’s surprising how many users still log on via 3/4G open networks – sometimes it seems like the only option, but as most banks offer telephone banking, it really isn’t!
In addition to threats coming in over a network connection, Kaspersky, the global internet security company, released data in early 2013 that showed huge growth in mobile malware directed towards Android phones. Android is known for being an “open” platform – less stringent procedures are in place for app creation and as a result there are more viruses and bugs downloaded onto Android phones than phones on other mobile platforms, such as iOS and Windows. This “open” approach means users often have access to a wider range of apps, and developers find Android approval a lot easier than Apple, for example, but it does also mean that users are best implementing extra security measures such as mobile antivirus software programs onto their device, just in case!
What does this mean from an online banking perspective?
Well, firstly, if you are an Android user – scan all of your apps before unleashing them onto your phone and contacts, and before putting any personal data in. There are whole families of malicious programs designed to steal details from mobile phones, including Zitmo and Zbot, and these are clever enough to bypass security measures such as passwords and e-tokens.
Secondly, use a secure connection. This doesn’t only apply to mobile banking – if you’re an online banking user, you need to make sure you log in only when you’re on a trusted device irrespective of what that device is, and on a trusted connection such as your home Wi-Fi! It’s also advised to have a robust anti-virus and malware program in place on your computer and phone!
This may all seem a little hardcore, especially when online (and especially mobile) banking is so much more convenient than having to go in branch, and quicker too. As long as you use your head, keep security in mind at all times and log out when you’re finished, all should be fine!
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