With Over 1B Users, Attackers Now Targeting Mobile Banking Users!

With the dawn of the Digital Age, mobile phones and tablets came to stay. And banks have taken advantage of this mobile technology and have introduced a novel concept called mobile banking. Mobile banking is advantageous for the bank as well as the customers. Mobile Banking uses custom developed software installed on a Smartphone or any other mobile device which provides a user-friendly banking service to its users, including either SMS or mobile-browser-based banking. This mobile technology has taken the banking world by storm and has revolutionized the global banking and payment systems. Today, mobile banking apps are fast growing in popularity and are already being used by millions and millions of people around the globe. In a report in June 2014 estimated a whopping 1 billion UK pounds were used per day in mobile banking transactions only. It is also revealed that mobile banking apps have been downloaded for around 14.7 million times and internet banking services have an average of over 7 millions log-ins daily.

Mobile Banking is increasingly becoming ever more popular in both the developed and the developing world alike. The fact that it has been estimated that around 50% of the US population uses mobile banking and the situation is more or less the same if not slightly higher in the case of developing countries like India and China where the percentage of mobile banking stands at around 60-70% of the population. When all the facts and figures are added up, it estimates for more than 1 billion people using mobile banking services every day. That’s one-seventh of the whole population of planet earth.

Is mobile banking completely safe and secure?

The answer is unqualified no. Mobile banking does have a darker side to it as any other technology does – as the popularity in mobile banking increases among the general public day by day, so will it attract cybercriminals to itself intending to steal money and credentials.

With the intense growth of ‘mobile banking’ trend, a whole pack of security threats appears –hacking, phishing, mobile malware, third party apps, unsecure Wi-Fi and consumer behavior are among them.

Hacking – Hacking has increasingly become common with the increase in usage of mobile banking apps and hackers are primarily using the much popular Android operating system to launch attacks. Viruses and mainly Trojans created to hack into mobile banking applications have increased over 20 times over the past few years which saw mobile banking gain immense popularity. Trojans are malicious programs which perform actions that are unauthorized by the user – such as deleting, modifying, blocking, copying data and disrupting the transfer of data over networks. Specifically speaking, ‘Trojan bankers’ are malicious programs designed to hack into and steal your bank account details, credit and debit card credentials including the money.

Phishing – Calls, emails, text messages supposedly coming from your bank will ask you to supply information about your bank accounts or credit cards and their security information. Often they will direct you to fake websites that appear like the real ones and request you to submit your banking information.

Mobile Malware – Rootkits, viruses and Trojans developed to hack into your bank accounts and credit cards through the mobile banking applications present in your phones. A marked increase in such software is seen as a huge threat to secure banking.

Third party apps – People download lots of applications from the internet to their Smartphone and often these apps’ originations become questionable. Or worse, such apps were developed by hackers and are loaded with malware with the malicious intent of harming and getting the information about the people who download them.

Insecure Wi-Fi – Unprotected public Wi-Fi networks are crawling with fraudsters who hack into our mobile devices and gain unauthorized access and steal certain information from us.

Consumer behavior– The average consumer is prone to using insecure Wi-Fi, download the third party malicious applications and become victim to phishing and hacking.

How do we protect ourselves from such attacks?

With the growth of aspects like mobile banking, the threats are always imminent. So the logical thing would take steps to ensure our own safety from such attacks. Some recommendations would be:–

  • Get your anti-virus software and keep up with all the updates on it. Also, run regular scans to check whether any malicious software has entered to your devices.
  • Install a firewall which can identify potentially malicious programs attempting to modify or transit your data over the internet or other networks.
  • Use a good, strong password and also use strong encryption whenever sending information over the internet or public networks. A few options for this would be to always use websites with ‘https’ which means it’s secure and also use end-to-end secure channels like Secure Socket Layer or Transport Layer Security whenever sending information over public networks.
  • If you’re on an insecure network, consider using a VPN which’ll encrypt your data to prevent eavesdroppers from accessing the same. You can check some VPN reviews on our site should you feel like using one.
  • Checking the account and credit card balance everyday is a simple yet secure method of preventing such attacks and this does not mean sending an email or a text, but making an actual phone call and requesting the particular information.
  • Change the passwords to your online banking applications few times a year and most certainly avoid using easy passwords that can be guessed such as 1234 or ‘password’.
  • Keep up with the updates in your operating system and make sure you have the latest versions of your mobile applications installed.
  • Always download with Avoid downloading applications from just any website you come across and start using more secure and comparatively safer reliable websites or online stores to download apps.
  • Identify and take measures to protect your sensitive data from unauthorized access. Avoid using mobile phones to store sensitive information such as your banking credentials and always use a laptop to store such information. In the case that such information is stored on your mobile device, always use strong encryption from trusted sources.
  • Implement authentication, user-authorization, and managing of sessions.
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