Mobile banking offers account access with the same tight security measures as the full desktop websites counterpart. By following these steps, it is possible to make things much harder for criminals and to significantly lower your safety risks:
- Always use a pin or gesture code to lock mobile devices. If a physical device falls into the hands of a criminal, the first thing they should be faced with is security, particularly where access to finances and other data is concerned.
- Only use official routes to communicate with financial institutions. Ensuring users stick to the official ways of contacting and receiving information from their banks is key. Mobile banking shouldn’t dramatically change the way banks communicate, so ignoring links to sites in emails requesting details, unusual texts or other messages, is advice worth noting when using a smartphone as it is when using a desktop PC, tablet or laptop.
- Be aware of connection services. Public Wi-Fi is far easier to ‘sniff’ for data than mobile data connections provided by a network operator. Unless the user is 100% sure of the security, or trust the connection on offer, think twice about dealing with personal finances over it. Installing trusted security software, like Norton Mobile Security or Norton Tablet Security, will help prevent malware – the cybercriminal’s number one tool – from logging keystrokes or gaining access to a device. It can also scan emails to provide support in avoiding phishing attacks seeking bank account information.
- Be careful what you download. It’s possible that mobile banking sessions could come under threat from code carried by other applications downloaded. While security software can scan for threats on a device, be aware of information entered onto a device and try to stick to well -regarded or official sources of applications or content.
- Read the fine print. Does your financial institution’s app allow you to delete all banking-related messages, pictures and other data saved on the phone? Can you disable the feature that automatically signs you in to your online bank account the minute your phone is turned on? Once connected to your account, will the app automatically disconnect after a certain period of inactivity?
- Set up your phone to encrypt data. Make sure your phone has an application to encrypt all stored data. Then, use it to protect sensitive messages from your financial institution and pictures of valid checks. Photos of checks and other sensitive banking data may be stored on your phone’s memory expansion card. Even if the phone itself is secured with encryption, the card probably is not. Note that older phones may not have enough power to run encryption software.
- Download anti-virus software and enable firewall protection for your cell phone. Make sure to update it regularly.
- Never respond to email messages from your bank that request personal information. Banks or Credit Unions never ask for this information by email. Mark it as spam, and delete it. Next, delete all your cached content (sent messages, received messages, etc.) on a regular basis. Finally, check your browser security settings to help filter out phishing emails.
- Be skeptical about text messages. Before opening a text that appears to be from your bank, and especially before hitting “reply,” call your financial institution first to make sure the message is actually from them.