How safe is mobile banking: threats and solutions

25 SEP 2015


As digital banking and payments converge into our mobile devices through mobile apps, security and privacy is a matter of paramount importance. At Cleveroad we are aimed to provide our clients with secure web and mobile applications. So let's study the most influential researches concerning mobile banking security threats and possible solutions.

What threatens banking security?

In June, German security researchers have revealed a defect in the way how lots of widely used mobile apps store data online. Users' personal information, including passwords, email and physical addresses, door and alarm codes, location data, etc. is becoming vulnerable to hackers. The question comes up: Can we trust mobile banking applications?

More than two years ago researchers from a few security agencies claimed that users are much safer doing their finances via mobile banking applications than using their personal computer, especially Windows-based. Applications found on official storefronts are expected to be malware-free as historically tech-savvy crooks have aimed their efforts at developing efficient hacking capabilities for PCs.


Such lack of seriousness to the possible threats resulted in this year's IBM research that unveiled an alarming condition of mobile insecurity. They revealed that over 400 large organizations, including banks, that under-secure their applications. One-third of these companies do not pay much attention to testing their apps; a half of these organizations have scarce budget or don't have budget at all to ensure mobile security against frauds.

How to ensure secure operations

The users of mobile banking apps are normally warned about threats of downloading insecure apps from untrusted sources, which makes devices vulnerable to malware. However, according to IBM research even apps from popular application stores can contain huge risks. Presently over 11 percent of devices are carrying malware. So what can be a solution? It is obviously not an option to put our devices aside and turn back to traditional systems of banking operations.

Technology advances give opportunities to implement such solutions like biometric authentication, which will make apps harder to infiltrate. Biometric technologies allow to authenticate users by measuring their physical, physiological or behavioral features such as fingerprints, gestures, voice, or signature. Moreover, data-analysis systems can use a smartphone to collect user data: starting from obvious things as usual IP-address to less obvious some distinguishing features and habits, like left-handedness, haste, force and so on. If mobile banking apps apply such learning security systems that will be able to spot sudden changes in individual data, the cyber frauds will be prevented more efficiently.


At this point there is no doubt that mobile apps are going to invade more and more spheres of our life as smartphones and portable devices have already become essential. And everything connected with money will attract cybercriminals who will try to find their way into your transactions. Nevertheless, constantly developing secure systems in mobile apps will do their best to keep thieves away.

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