Is Mobile Banking Safe?

The notion of safety and being secure is very subjective. I personally believe there is no instance where you can say you are 100% secure, completely safe from the evil lurking around you. Especially, at a time, when each one of us is hyper-connected. Well, most of us, if not all.

Which brings me to one aspect where safety is critical, i.e., mobile banking (it has to be since it’s about money). There are two categories of people here: the savvy and the paranoid. Paranoids like myself avoid accessing bank account via browsers or apps. The savvy users, on the other hand, are comfortable carrying their bank accounts on their mobiles.

Irrespective of how savvy they are, the doubt still lurks: “is online banking safe?”

Add on top of that the news on banking data being leaked; the doubt becomes a serious threat. It’s not always the bank though or a genius hacker who wreaks havoc. More often than not, it’s us, the human who remains the weakest link.

Truth be told, I am no expert on security. But, I do feel obliged to educate the audience here, out of goodwill. Plus, it involves common sense than expertise than security.

Before we begin the rant on “how to secure mobile banking ?” let’s first elaborate on the topic:

Is Mobile Banking Safe? & What is Mobile Banking?

It refers to the use of your mobile device for conducting banking tasks. This includes fund transfers, using p2p payments, checking the status of your bank account, and electronic bill payments, etc. All this is done using the native application that your bank provides you for the platform of your choice.

What Are the Security Risks of Mobile Banking?

It refers to the use of your mobile device/mobile phone for conducting banking tasks. This includes fund transfers, using p2p payments, checking the status of your bank account, and electronic bill payments, etc. All this is done using the native banking app/ banking apps mobile apps that your bank provides you for the platform of your choice.

Some of the most common security risks of mobile banking include (but not limited to):

  1. Watch out for Banking Malware!

    1. This has been on the rise, with it many Trojans designed specifically to attack users and steal money from their accounts. Such malicious tools are designed to fake the appearance of your banking app, get you to install it and then you know what happens. Mcafee Mobile Threat Report released in Q1, 2018 predicted it to rise by 77%, a number that was documented to have surpassed in the  2019 report. Many of these Trojans are on the rise, clearly highlighting the fact that the banking sectors are prone to falling victims to these digital threats.
    2. Below is a snapshot from the report highlighting the growth in mobile malware since 2016. Self-explanatory, I assume?

    Tip: Watch out for such malware and always use the official banking apps/banking app available via an official link. Don’t trust any other source!

    Don’t Use online banking mobile apps on Unsecured WiFi Networks (Especially, Public WiFi) for the safest and best online banking for maximum security and implement VPN Kill Switch for utmost VPN connection security, in case your internet connection drops. You just have to change the IP address and the protocol to suit that of your preferred via your VPN connection and connect to your bank.

    1. While it may sound convenient to connect to free public Wi-Fi, the inconvenience it may cause is unfathomable for security. Not just using public Wi-Fi, but even many people using home or office network poses an equal threat if the right precautions aren’t taken. Therefore, always enable Two-factor authentication and VPN Kill Switch, in case of VPN connection drops so that IP address does not get exposed, while logging in to the banking app for upmost internet connection.

    Man in the Middle Attack

    1. The most obvious threat is the “man in the middle attack.” t involves a hacker sniffing the data exchange between the victim(people) and the website accessed, this issue is resolved when connected with a VPN connection, in case your VPN connection drops.

    Tip 1: Always prefer your cellular network over public wireless networks when using mobile apps/ banking apps enabled with VPN Kill Switch for the safest online banking experience. As VPN Kill Switch notices any change in IP address or when the VPN connection goes down and locks your network until your VPN connection is established if your internet connection drops. Otherwise, your IP address along with all your traffic will be exposed to the world.

    Tip 2: Use a trusted secure VPN connection to add an extra layer of encryption when connecting to public wireless networks on your mobile phones when accessing your bank apps as an Internet connection and mask your IP address so you will remain 100% anonymous with VPN connection.

    Tip 3: Do read our Public WiFi Tips before you connect to public Wi-Fi on the mobile phone for the utmost secure internet connection.

    Enable Two-Factor Authentication when you use mobile devices or PC on any operating systems for secure banking. This way your personal information has a high chance of staying secure.

  2. Always verify and check to You Protect Your Phone – Don’t lose it!

    1. I guess the risks involved here are obvious. Your basic security features on the device should be set up the minute you own one, you have these rights reserved. Some of those tips include:
      Tip 1:Setting up a strong password on your bank apps. Avoid obvious passwords like 1234, 1111, etc. Since they are easy to remember, they are extremely easy to guess as well. Do check our comprehensive guide on password security.
  3. Is Mobile Banking safe on Android

    1. While the Android platform offers its users convenience and eases the best, it also leaves room for exploitation and vulnerabilities. With Android being an “open source” platform, it is not centrally controlled like the iOS. With an 80% market share and multiple manufacturers tinkering with the operating system, the chances of vulnerabilities increase.

          Tip 1: Always verify and check you only download the official apps on your mobile devices.

  1. Tip 2: Make sure that you have Google Play Protect enabled on your Android Device. This can be done from the Android Settings. Google Play Protect regularly checks your apps and device for harmful behavior as a user you have these rights reserved so, use this for the best experience.
    Tip 3: Make sure all the apps you have on the device are updated. And, delete any app that you don’t use or find suspicious.
  2. Is Mobile Banking Safe on iOS?

    Compared to Android, use mobile banking on iOS is comparatively safer. This is largely owed to the high standards that the App Store has and that the operating system is a closed system. This means all the apps you use on your iPhone or iPad are downloaded from the official store. Of course, the same doesn’t apply to jailbroken iPhones or iPads since jailbreaking allows you to tweak your iOS device and install applications from unauthorized app repositories.

    Tip: Stay away from Jailbreaking, unless you are a pro if done wrong, you can waste your hard-earned money!

    So is Mobile Banking Safe? The Final Verdict

    Yes!. As long as you:

    1. Have the official mobile app installed
    2. Update it regularly
    3. Avoid connecting to public WiFi without a decent VPN service to have a secure VPN connection.
    4. Don’t lose your phone!

     

    But, perhaps the most important tip is that you act responsibly!

    Hackers, scams, and malware will continue to exist and thrive unless we keep a close watch on what we download, what links we click, and steal our hard-earned money, etc

    Happy Mobile Banking!

    Sources: Statistica, Wikipedia,

PureVPN PureVPN is a leading VPN service provider that excels in providing easy solutions for online privacy and security. With 2000+ servers in 141+ countries, It helps consumers and businesses in keeping their online identity secured.

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  1. […] respondents across 13 countries spanning Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas — indicates that identity theft and bank fraud are a few of the more pressing security concerns faced by consumers […]

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