Is mobile banking safe?

Is mobile banking safe?

December 20, 2023 privacy 0
Mobile banking is usually safe — but it could expose you to some online risks. After all, your mobile device can be hacked or infected with spyware. If you find yourself asking “is mobile banking safe?”, this article is for you: We’ll explore the potential threats of banking online and give you tips on how to keep your banking details safe online.

Contents How safe is online banking on a mobile phone? How to use mobile banking safely Is mobile banking safe on Android? Is mobile banking safe on iPhone?
How safe is online banking on a mobile phone?

So how safe is mobile banking? It all depends on how cautious and well-informed you are. Hackers exploit weak passwords and vulnerabilities of public Wi-Fi to infect devices with malware. However, most mobile banking attacks happen through social engineering – when users are manipulated to give up their usernames and passwords to hackers, scammers, and other cybercriminals. Social engineering techniques range from phone calls, malware links, phishing websites to more advanced (and less frequent) attacks like phony banking apps. It’s much easier to fall for a scam than you think, and the best defense against them is knowledge.

How to use mobile banking safely

Here are some tips for a more secure mobile banking experience: 1. Don’t lose your phone The biggest security threat of your mobile phone is also its greatest asset – its size. Phones are small, handy, beautiful, and easy to lose. Losing a phone is as heartbreaking as losing a part of yourself, but it gets even worse. If someone who found or stole your phone uses it to access your bank account, you could lose much more. To protect your device, use a PIN key (something more difficult and unique than 1111) or a pattern lock with biometric identification, which can be: Facial recognition — convenient, but it could be dangerous if you have an evil twin lurking around. Iris scanning — the pattern of your iris is unique and can’t be replicated with a simple photo. Fingerprints — low false-acceptance rates, perfect if you don’t often wear gloves. Iris scanning or fingerprint identification with a strong PIN will grant you easy and secure access to your phone. Never leave your phone unattended. Install an anti-theft and recovery app that can locate your phone, lock it remotely, or even wipe your data if it gets stolen. As a final layer of security, always log out of your banking app after you finish your operations. {SHORTCODES.blogRelatedArticles} 2. Use the official banking app, not the browser The second biggest security threat concerns the banking app. If you aren’t careful, you could download a fake banking app created by scammers to break into your account. Make sure your financial institution created or approves of the app you are downloading. Get it from the bank’s website. Moreover, do not use mobile browsers to log in to your bank account – they are less secure than using a legitimate banking app. Finally, before downloading any app to your phone, you should research the developer, read the reviews, check the app rating on Google Play or the App Store. Poorly designed or fake mobile banking apps from third parties could steal your username and password to access your bank account — and then empty or monitor it. 3. Don’t just follow any link you see You pick up your phone, open up the email app, and notice that your bank has sent you an announcement about a new service. The letter ends, “You can save up to a thousand dollars per year! For more details, follow this link.” You click it, go to the landing page, and log in, but some error occurs, and you are disconnected from the website. You just gave your username and password to a scammer. The email you got was not from your bank but from scammers pretending to be your bank. You would have noticed this if you had checked the sender details more carefully. The landing page was actually a clone made to look like your bank’s website. When you entered your password, you handed your data straight to cybercriminals. Always check the URL and domain of any link you are about to click on, especially if it claims to be from your bank. If it looks suspicious – avoid it. The same applies to SMS messages or messages and links on social media. Never send your username or password via email, social media, or text message. If you did – change the password immediately. 4. Don’t use mobile banking on public Wi-Fi Anyone on a public Wi-Fi network is in danger of a security breach. Many of these networks lack basic security measures and have poor router configurations and weak passwords. Mobile banking or any other activity that exposes your sensitive data should never be done on public Wi-Fi. If a hacker is monitoring the public Wi-Fi or hotspot you are using, they could potentially intercept the data being transferred to and from your phone and use it to access your banking account. If you are scrolling in a library or a coffee shop and you need to access your bank account, use your cellular network instead. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than public Wi-Fi. Better yet, turn on a VPN and use public Wi-Fi without the risk of compromising your personal data. NordVPN encrypts your web traffic, making it extraordinarily difficult to intercept and decipher. 5. Use strong passwords and 2FA Setting a weak password for your mobile banking app is kind of like trying to hold the door to your safe closed with duct tape. With modern technology, hackers can brute force simple passwords in the blink of an eye to pilfer your online banking account. To avoid having your coffers emptied, always take the time to set strong passwords for important accounts. A strong password is made of a random string of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and is at least eight characters long. Better yet, get yourself a reliable password manager like NordPass to automatically set ironclad passwords for your accounts. Your password is your first line of defense, but it shouldn’t be your only line of defense. For optimum security, protect your mobile banking app with two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) — for example, by downloading a free authenticator app. With 2FA, criminals won’t be able to get their hands on your funds without physically getting their hands on your phone — and if you’ve been following this guide, you’ve already got it locked down with a PIN and biometric security. 6. Use antivirus software with malware and phishing protection Like a sneaky saboteur, malware can undermine your security systems from the inside. Once it takes root on your phone, malware can steal your data, log your online banking credentials, or pave the way for other, even more dangerous attacks down the road. The simplest way to get your device infected is to download a shady file from a suspicious source — such as a fake attachment to a phishing email. But while good online hygiene can help you avoid most infections, chances are, you will stumble into malware at some point in your life. To make sure that hackers don’t get a foothold on your mobile banking device, use NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature. Just to be safe, you should also sweep the device for hidden threats if it starts behaving oddly — for example, if it begins lagging or heats up for no reason. 7. Keep your software up to date Software vulnerabilities are like open windows in your house — it doesn’t matter how tightly you’ve locked your front door, the criminals still have an easy way to sneak in. These vulnerabilities range from zero-day exploits (bugs present at launch) to input bugs that result in malicious injection attacks. New vulnerabilities are discovered every day. To counter this phenomenon, software developers regularly patch their products to close off any potential exploits. It’s very important that you update your mobile banking app and the phone’s operating system whenever a new patch is released — any delay gives hackers more time to act against you.

Is mobile banking safe on Android?

According to the Nokia 2023 Threat Intelligence Report, Android devices are the most vulnerable to threats like malware when it comes to mobile banking security. More specifically, Android phones are the primary malware target on both mobile (49%) and fixed networks (30%). The report states that Mandrake, an Android banking trojan that disguises itself as a legitimate app and steals personal information (including credentials) once installed, makes up 9.13% of all malware threats on fixed networks. On mobile networks, the same trojan represents 8.12% of total malwares. The Android platform allows its users more flexibility, which also leaves more security holes than iOS systems. Minimize your risks by downloading apps only from Google Play and update them in a timely manner. Go to your Android settings and make sure that you have turned on Google Play Protect, which scans your apps for suspicious behavior. You can also use the Find My Device setting, which lets you find, ring, lock, or even wipe your device from afar. Go through the apps you’ve downloaded and installed on your phone and delete the ones you do not need or use – each represents an unnecessary potential vulnerability. Old apps may also be poorly supported or have security holes or malware. A clean and tidy Android system is likely to be a secure one.

Is mobile banking safe on iPhone?

Mobile banking tends to be safer on iPhone thanks to the rigorous standards of the App Store. But if users jailbreak iPhone devices, these standards go out the window, potentially leading to an unsafe online banking experience. Jailbreaking means cracking the standard settings of an iOS system so that you can modify your phone in ways that Apple does not allow. With a jailbroken phone, you can install apps not authorized by Apple, and you can remove the security protocols that Apple has built into the device. Jailbreaking also voids the warranty, so you won’t get support from Apple when you might need it most. If you are just a regular iOS user, you should never jailbreak your iPhone. Only use a mobile banking app from the App Store — apps listed there are usually safe. Malware may bypass Apple’s defenses once in a while so you should always be careful, but they certainly catch many potential threats. Final thoughts Is it possible to have a secure mobile banking experience? You can certainly make mobile banking safer by taking just a few precautions. Remember — download the official banking app, update it regularly, use a VPN with a public Wi-Fi, and keep your phone close by! However, that doesn’t make you completely safe from scams, malware attacks, and hacking. Your common sense is the last line of defense. A victim of mobile banking breaches will usually be someone who does not take their security seriously.

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