The Security of Mobile Banking

The security of mobile banking is a critical issue for the growing number choosing that real-time, anywhere way to bank. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, by the end of 2014, those will total 108 million in the U.S. That’s half the adult population. To access their accounts, they use mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, and iPads.

What you have to know is that security is a two-way street. Banks have made cyber security a priority. But customers must also get into the habit of being self-protective.

That begins before you set up the mobile account. Make sure your mobile devices have quality anti-virus protection. That in itself will deter hackers. When you are ready to download and install the mobile app, it should be provided by the bank itself. Or the bank will list those that are available in app stores. Stick only with those. Non-authorized apps are a common tactic for hackers to penetrate your mobile devices. In addition, once you do mobile banking, you must be cautious about other apps you download. It is possible they contain what is called a “keylogger,” which records what you key in during mobile banking.

Hackers also seek to bypass the security of mobile banking accounts through “phishing” or tricking victims into disclosing confidential information. This could take the form of an email supposedly from your bank warning that unless you provide your banking data the accounts will be closed. Or it might have instructions to click on links. They will bring you to a rogue website which simulates the look of your bank’s, complete with logo. Do not respond. Contact your bank.

Another security habit to increase the security of mobile banking is never conducting your banking business via public wireless (wi-fi).

networks. Typically they are in airports, coffee shops, and public libraries. At the airport you might remember that you have not paid the mortgage. Those public networks are known to be vulnerable to hackers. Either wait before you transfer the funds from savings to checking. Or disable the wi-fi and switch over to a cellular network.

However, the habit that is most important to get down cold is knowing where your mobile devices are at all times. Never leave them unattended, such as on your desk when you go into a meeting in the conference room. Ideally, select those with locking mechanisms or which require some kind of password. The latter can seem time-consuming, but is worth the nuisance factor.

If you suspect tampering or if the devices get lost or stolen, notify the bank. Describe the situation. If it is possible you might locate the device later, the bank can simply put a hold on transactions. Keep the bank up-to-date.  Some mobile carriers provide services such as the ability to disable the missing device as well as the capability to wipe out all the content. Check that out before you need to know.

For banking customers who develop self-protective habits and know what to do in emergencies, security of mobile banking and the mobile option can be the ultimate in convenience and speedy service.

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