Mobile Banking: a Gateway to 21st Century Bank Robbery or a Worthwhile Convenience?January 30, 2014
I hardly remember the last time I went in a bank. I seldom carry cash so the vast majority of my banking can be completed from home, or perhaps on the bus, or at work—anywhere really because I do it all from my phone. And I’m certainly not alone as there are already more transactions completed on cell phones than on computers. It is undeniable that mobile banking is a rapidly growing technology that makes life more convenient, as we no longer even need to take checks to the bank to deposit them. However, an important consideration in the midst of the transition from web-based banking to mobile banking is whether users are trading security for convenience.
People have grown accustomed to the concept of the computer viruses because of prolonged exposure, but people seldom associate cyber-attacks with their mobile device. Nonetheless, those of us relying on mobile devices to complete daily banking transactions need to be aware of the risks. A recent story stated that 99 percent of mobile attacks are currently directed at Android-based phones, thus putting Android users at a particular risk. Nonetheless, these risks remain fairly small in comparison with computer-based security threats. However, experts expect the problem to become worse as mobile reliance continues to grow. Thus, security risks are certainly out there.
In the aftermath of the Target security breach, our financially vulnerability has been in the public discourse. Thus, it is important to keep these issues in mind before logging in to complete your next mobile banking transaction.
Mobile banking, however, is far from a lawless free-for-all. Banks remain committed to the same regulations put forth by the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides further regulatory considerations. This explains why logging in to complete mobile banking is so often a multi-step process as regulation requires banks take a multi-layered approach to user security. Further security is required by CTIA (The Wireless Association) which is an industry trade group that provided guidelines for Mobile Financial Services. Nonetheless, wireless providers “currently have no federal laws regarding protection of customers who utilize mobile banking services.”
In the aftermath of the Target security breach, our financially vulnerability has been in the public discourse. Thus, it is important to keep these issues in mind before logging in to complete your next mobile banking transaction. Nonetheless, it appears that the greatest risk to mobile banking is not viruses or cyber-attacks, but rather in-person unauthorized access through the mobile device. Based on this, a small handful of steps, including password protecting devices, making sure to log out of banking applications, and avoiding losing said devices can go a long way in ensuring financial security on mobile devices.