It’s true – mobile banking is an easy and efficient way to view your account balances, review individual transactions, and send or receive payments while you’re on the go.
But its convenience isn’t just attracting smartphone users worldwide – it’s also attracting cybercriminals, and it’s easy to see why.
According to a recent report by the Federal Reserve, 42 percent of mobile banking users have transferred money between accounts; meanwhile, 21 percent of mobile payment users have transferred money directly to another users’ bank, credit card or Paypal account.
That equates to a massive amount of money changing hands through mobile devices, which is why cybercriminals are becoming more aggressive, and mobile bankers should proceed with caution.
In fact, according to AVG’s Q3 Community Powered Threat Report, cybercriminals are repurposing old tricks in order to lure consumers to download malware that is capable of obtaining your phone number and banking information.
Though the attack starts on your PC, a special type of malware known as Man-in-the-Mobile (Zitmo) is able to access your username, password and Transaction Authentication Number (TAN) – all of which are issued by your bank in order to authorize financial transactions.
Regardless if you’re a mobile banking novice or digital financial wizard, there are still a few safe mobile habits that should be adopted by all:
1. Set banking alerts – Stay informed about the activity in your banking account by setting custom email and mobile alerts.
2. Clear your history – Clearing your mobile’s browser cache not only will improve the performance of your smartphone, but it will also stop thieves from accessing copies of web pages that may contain personal information and lead to banking or credit card accounts. If you must use your mobile browser, be sure to completely log out after each session.
3. Layered protection – Not only should you be locking your phone from thieves and mischievous friends, also consider installing antivirus software such as AVG Anti Virus for Android that can detect malicious links and illegitimate apps. The software will also allow you to remote wipe your phone if it’s lost or stolen.
4. Lost smartphone? Alert your bank – If you happen to lose your smartphone consider alerting your bank or credit card company, so that they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Once a thief has your smartphone in their hands it’s much easier for them to retrieve passwords.
5. Planning to upgrade? – Don’t forget to wipe your smartphone clean of data and reset it to its factory settings so that old text messages, emails or apps containing banking or credit card information are deleted. Never sell or dispose of a cellphone without first making sure that you’ve removed sensitive data.
Do you bank using your smartphone? How do you protect yourself? Share your tips on Twitter or join the conversation on Facebook.