The increase in the number of users of mobile phones has extremely revolutionized every sector of life, as it brings a larger market to leverage upon. And one of the sectors so revolutionized is Banking and Finance. As we all know, we can do most of the activities which required us to visit a bank originally on our smartphones in the comfort of our homes. All at the press of a few clicks.
However, the sensitivity of the data shared through this platform makes it a veritable source of income for hackers and scammers. Therefore, the question from most users is “how secure is my android phone for banking”?
Mobile app security companies NowSecure and Accenture found that 10 percent of the banking apps on Android had medium-level security issues and 2 percent had high-level security issues. The Chief Marketing Officer at NowSecure, a mobile app security company, Brian Reed had this to say about the Android platform;
“You tend to find sloppier code and more mistakes and more vulnerabilities on the Android platform because it’s just more like the Wild West.”
Is that so? Let us examine some of the issues faced by Android users who bank with their phones.
RISKS FACED BY ANDROID USERS
It pays to be aware!
The popularity of mobile banking apps on Android greatly increases the risks faced by Android users. And many are not even aware of these risks. In addition, Android being an open-source software means anybody can write additional code to interfere with the software.
Let’s check out some of the risks faced by Android users:
These are common ways of gaining login credentials through a mobile app that appears legitimate. Many times, the apps downloaded via the Google Play Store are not always authentic and may be run by scammers. There have been events where Google had to remove apps form the market because of serial complaints of malware and Trojans hidden in the apps.
We should be equally wary of other apps asking for critical permissions on our phones. For instance, security researchers in January 2018 discovered an Android banking Trojan that was gaining admin rights to Android devices in an attack that targeted 232 banking apps.
In a bid to attract customers, restaurants, fast food chains, coffee shops, etc. provide free Wi-Fi for their users. Often times, these internet connections are not safe or secure enough. Public Wi-Fi is never secure enough to do transactions with via mobile banking apps.
It is possible for accomplished, sophisticated hackers to intercept confidential details and transactions which occur over unsecured networks.
LOSS OF PHONE/PHONE THEFT
While no one sets out to lose their phones or have it stolen, it should be said that users need to be more security conscious. Many android users, because of the increase in sophistication of the security measures on their phones become lax in their personal security. This puts them at a higher risk of having their phones stolen and their credentials stolen, especially if they have passwords stored on the phone.
A rooted Android device is that which basically has its essential defense mechanisms stripped off to make way for apps which the device may not otherwise use.
Rooted devices have a higher risk for sensitive banking credentials to be captured from the various interfaces on the device simply because the device itself can no longer be trusted.
This is also a risk for Android users. Many users are usually not aware of the updates to the banking apps provided by their banking institutions. These updates usually contain infrastructure to cover security holes which may be circumvented by hackers.
These are some of the risks faced by Android users. However, banking on Android can be safe. How? Check it out!
WITH SECURITY ANTIVIRUS APPS:
There are applications out there today which provide security for mobile phones. This is virtually every antivirus software out there. They have all incorporated and now provide security options for Android devices.
One of the foremost out there is Bitdefender, a great option when considering an antivirus. I suggest you take an extended free trial here. With their records over decades, they are one of the best in the market today.
AVOID INSECURE WI-FI:
While apps such as Bitdefender will surely secure your device, it is also better to be more conscious of the type of connection you are browsing with. While connected to public Wi-Fi at libraries, airports, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. do not use your mobile banking apps for transactions.
UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE REGULARLY:
Keep your banking apps updated. Updates usually roll out on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on your bank. These updates come with new infrastructure to make your banking more secure. So, check regularly for these.
MAKE PASSWORDS MORE SECURE:
The traditional way of logging into mobile banking apps require customer numbers, PINs or passwords. While most banking apps don’t store such details, many people would store them on their phones. This is not advisable. Keep your passwords safe elsewhere and make sure they are not easy to crack.
Also, many banking institutions have diversified their login techniques. Today, more verification is required to login to a banking app. For example, fingerprint authentication is now available, depending on the device, making mobile banking more secure.
BE SECURITY CONSCIOUS
Be aware of your surroundings always. Know if anyone is looking over your shoulders while you are using your mobile banking app in public. Not everyone is out to get you, but you can never be too careful. Also, be sure to log out of apps before closing them outrightly.
Banking on Android can be safe, with the above precautions. There is no 100 percent guarantee as attacks get more sophisticated. However, taking precautions would save you a lot from the hassles of a hacker and protect you as you use your mobile banking apps.