Safe Mobile Banking
Mobile banking is easy, saves you a lot of time and effort and involves money. This is exactly what cybercrooks are after. No wonder most of their attacks are targeted at mobile banking sessions. How can you avoid falling victim?
Installing a mobile antivirus is imperative. Also, applying common sense and staying informed about threats to your mobile security are key ingredients to keeping your phone, identity and bank account safe.
Be proactive in securing the mobile device itself. Depending on what security options are available on your device, create a "strong" password to secure your device consisting of unusual combinations of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Alternatively, you may use a PIN with random numbers instead of, say, 1234 or the last four digits of your Social Security number, and periodically change it.
Be careful about where and how you conduct transactions. Don't use an unsecured Wi-Fi network, such as those found at coffee shops. Fraud artists might be able to access the information you are transmitting or viewing. Also, don't send account numbers or other sensitive information through regular e-mails or text messages because those are not necessarily secure.
Take additional precautions in case your device is lost or stolen. Check with your wireless provider in advance to find out about features that enable you to remotely erase content or turn off access to your device or account if you lose your phone. Quickly contact your financial services providers to let them know about the loss or theft of your device. Notifying your bank quickly will help prevent or resolve problems with unauthorized transactions.
Be on guard against unsolicited e-mails or text messages appearing to link to a financial institution's Web site. Those could be "phishing" messages containing some sort of urgent request, such as a warning that you need to "verify" bank account or other personal information, or an amazing offer ("too good to be true") designed to lead you to a fake Web site controlled by thieves.
Mobile antivirus is a must. Mobile browsing or text messages leave a door open for malware attacks. The most common malware used in attacks on banking sessions are mobile bots and Trojans, or the two combined. Without mobile antivirus protection, they can get to your phone and steal your credit card details and the login credentials to your bank account, and forward them to cybercrooks. Some mobile banking Trojans are so sophisticated that they can breach even the most advanced security systems put in place by banks.
To get an idea of just how complex these attacks can get, just have a look at Zitmo, the “mobile version” of the renowned Zeus Trojan for PCs, which began in 2010 and some crooks still use today. The more targeted these types of attacks are, the more dangerous and effective. So again, when it comes to online banking, a mobile antivirus app is just as important as PC antivirus software.
Tips for having a safe mobile banking experience
Using the mobile banking app vs. the web version is a much safer way to access your accounts from your mobile device.
Don’t use public Wi-Fi networks for bank transactions and turn off your Bluetooth connection when not in use. These can be open windows for eavesdroppers intercepting your transaction or installing spyware and other malware on your smartphone.
Update your operating system and applications on your smartphone, including the browser, in order to avoid any malicious exploits of security holes in out-dates versions.
Install an effective mobile antivirus on your smartphone. You never know when the urgent need to transfer money may arise. And whichever mobile banking method you use, mobile antivirus and antiphishing tools are must haves.