5 Ways To Safeguard Your Mobile Transactions

by September 14, 2016 0 comments
– by Murari Sridharan, Chief Technology officer
Banking started with traditional physical outposts, then moved to the faster, though more non- personal, ATMs. From there, it was not long before it adapted to the internet. The evolution has now reached the hands of customers in the form of mobile banking – a true convergence of the need for mobility and online financial transactions.
Innovations in online financial payments via mobile phones are making the need to carry a wallet obsolete. Though technology is bringing convenience to our very fingertips, with it also comes some associated risks such as theft of identity, which can be used to steal money from your accounts.
Banks have already set up layers of data encryption and other such security measures, but there are a few steps that you, too, need to employ to safeguard your interests.
Install Security Habits in Yourself
1. Be creative when setting up mobile banking passwords for your bank accounts, or
passwords for your profiles on shopping and other websites that may include your payment information like a saved credit card number. Do not use your date of birth, the names of family members, dates of important milestones in your life, or other such names or numbers that are significant to you. These can be easily guessed or broken by a brute-force attack by those who know you or find out information about you for identity theft.
Instead, opt for random alphanumeric constructions with special characters that you can remember but cannot be linked to you easily. This is a tougher option as you have to keep track of these random numbers, letters, and characters, and it might seem easier to simply use information that is easy for you to remember. However, choosing random words and numbers is a safer bet as they will be almost impossible to guess. Also, try to keep your passwords longer than seven characters. This makes it harder to crack. Be sure to change your passwords frequently as well as vary them in type so no one can get used to your pattern.
2. Do not save your passwords on any device, in either written or audio formats, and
especially not on your mobile phone. Similarly, do not note down your debit or credit card number, account number, debit or credit card PINs, your usernames and their passwords, and other such vital information. Memorize them instead so that no one but you knows what they are. Avoid sending any such information to anyone via SMS or other texting options. In case you lose your mobile, all the information that you have stored in it will fall into unsafe hands.
3. To make it harder for anyone to gain your personal or financial information, make it even more difficult for them to even gain access to your device by setting an unlock pattern or password on your phone.
Do Not Transact On Public Networks
1. Avoid making any financial transactions while you are connected to public hotspots or general Wi-Fi in hotels, airports, cafes, or other such places. Public networks are more prone to risks of data theft as their encryption can be cracked easily by hackers or crackers trying to access your account information.
2. Make all financial transactions only when your mobile is safely connected to your personal internet connection that is passwords protected.
Check What Apps You Download or Install
1. When downloading or installing any app on your mobile phone, even non-financial ones, always make sure that they are official and made by companies or businesses you trust.
Malicious apps or malwares abound over the internet. These are made in a way as to infiltrate iOS, Android, Windows, and other mobile platform security. These apps record data from your phone and transmit them to identity thieves who can use the information to steal your money.
2. Download and use only those banking, shopping, or gaming apps that are available in the official store of your mobile platform (Google Play Store, App Store, Windows Store, etc.). Such official apps store or send out information that is encrypted and only to other official channels so that your transactions are secure.
3. Avoid mobile applications that show a plethora of advertisements – videos or texts or images – from unwanted sources. Do not use important accounts to access temporary apps or post any information about yourself through them, as many of them do not follow secure deletion process of user data post uninstallation. Try to find as much information about an app to ensure that it is trustworthy before you install it on your device.
Beware Of What Links You Click On
1. Do not fall prey to link baiting. Many websites, text messages, and even emails invite you to click on links that seem attractive or important. Never follow such links as most are fake and lead to phishing sites that can get past your mobile’s security features and reach out you are financial and personal information from your device in the background.
Phishing messages will be worded in a way that scares you or entices you – something like “We noticed your bank account password was leaked; log in through this link to reset” or “You have won a lottery; click here to claim your prize” – and they will seem to come from legitimate sources. Be aware of such scams and never give your banking or personal information in any place other than official websites.
2. Always ensure that any website where you enter financial or personal information begins with “https” and not “Http,” and that the lock icon is present on the address bar of your browser.
An “https” website means it uses Secure Sockets Layer for its connection, which keeps your data safe and restricts the sharing of any transactional information to between your phone and the server only. Regular information or browsing can be done on “Http” sites, but refrain from any money transactions via websites that are not “https” protected.
3. If you are a heavy social media surfer or user, do not get too lax about what information you are sharing via these channels. Do not click on posts from people or sources you do not trust and, even then, do not follow links that do not lead to reliable websites.
4. Do not give any financial or personal information such as account number, password, phone number, address, credit card details, etc. if you get a call from anyone claiming to be from your bank or some such important institution. Unsolicited calls are a well-known scam and it makes sense to hang up as soon as possible as such calls not only try to get your financial or personal information for nefarious purposes but also charge you very high rates on your mobile bill and earn via that.
5. If you have apps that help identify spam numbers, then make sure that they have official security certificates as many such apps that have access to your phonebook are not secure enough to keep such information from leaking to frauds.
Install a Trusted Antivirus/Anti-malware Program
1. While almost everyone installs an antivirus software on desktops or laptops, it is equally important to do so on mobile phones as well. Use a legitimate and official antivirus or anti- malware that scan your device regularly and keep itself updated to fight the latest viruses, worms, and malware.
2. Also keep your mobile’s operating system (OS) updated to the latest version released officially by the company. This makes sure that all security features of your OS are up-to- date and capable to detecting and fighting off regular attempts by malware. Do not jailbreak your phones as this tampers with the inbuilt and official security layers of your OS and can make your device vulnerable to data breaches. Clean your phone’s memory regularly so that old data is removed and, with it, the chances of stored financial or personal information.
There is no reason to be scared of using your mobile devices for making financial transactions or for personal work. With a few precautions, you can do this in a safe and secure manner, without any stress of identity theft even if your phone is lost or stolen. If you suspect any irregular activity in your financial account, always reach out to the respective bank for help. They would be more than happy to help you.

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