For a growing number of Americans, mobile banking has become the preferred way to manage their bank accounts. Over 1 in 4 Americans use mobile devices more often than any other method to access their bank accounts, an American Bankers Association survey found. Among Americans aged 18 to 29, nearly half use mobile devices as their most frequent method of banking.
Mobile banking appeals to smartphone users because of its convenience. However, this convenience can come at the cost of increased security risks, with cyberthieves increasingly targeting mobile phones. Cyber attacks on mobile phones grew in the third quarter of 2017, with smartphones the target of 72 percent of attacks. Here are some do’s and don’ts you should follow to make sure your mobile banking experience stays secure.
Keep Devices Secure
Protecting your device forms a cornerstone of secure mobile banking. Make it difficult for thieves to access your device by using a strong password, changing it frequently and avoiding sharing it with others. Alternately, you can use biometric security features such as facial recognition to lock your device. Cutting-edge mobile platforms that use artificial intelligence, such as the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon security suite, employ smart camera security biometrics for enhanced protection, along with other advanced security features such as hardware tokens and on-device malware detection. If you’re an employer with a BYOD policy, establishing guidelines that require workers to use phones with strong mobile platform security features will help protect your company’s financial data as well as that of your employees.
Set your device to lock users out of your phone after too many failed attempts to access it. Activate remote wipe capability in case your device is lost or stolen. Report lost and stolen devices immediately to phone providers and law enforcement in order to intercept cybertheft activity as rapidly as possible.
Use Secure Apps
It’s also important to avoid malware when mobile banking. Malware can be introduced to your device by downloading a mobile banking app from an unsecured site. Only download apps from official sites, such as your bank’s website. If possible, use your bank’s app to access your account rather than logging in through the internet, since their official app should have security features built in. Set your app to remember your login information so that you don’t have to type it in each time you log in, since every time you type it, you run the risk of a hacker intercepting your information. Don’t store your password information in a separately-labeled folder on your phone.
It’s also important to keep other apps on your device secure since these can become paths for malware to infect your smartphone. Always install updates to your operating system and apps promptly in order to incorporate the latest security patches. Use antivirus software to scan your smartphone and detect malware intrusions.
Conduct Transactions Over Secure Networks
Another key to mobile banking security is using secure networks to log in. Unsecured networks such as public Wi-Fi hotspots are often monitored by cyberthieves looking for opportunities to intercept sensitive data you send. You can avoid this by using a secure network such as a virtual private network to log in. VPNs use encryption to protect the data you send.
Encryption can also help protect you from infected websites. Only conduct financial transactions over sites that have an HTTPS prefix in their URL code, which indicates encryption is being used to protect communications between the site and your Internet browser.
Protecting your device, using secure apps and conducting transactions over secure networks are three key strategies for staying safe when doing mobile banking. Following these guidelines will lay a foundation for a safe, secure mobile banking experience.