Bank apps—and FinTech apps in general –have made financial transactions relatively easy. They have brought a level of convenience to payments, account access and wealth management that we could only have dreamt of just a couple of decades ago. But this benefit has come at a cost.
Cyber criminals have found that they can rob users of mobile banking platforms by exploiting their errors. While some hacking operations are possible due to security lapses on the part of banks and FinTechs, a vast majority of successful data breaches have occurred because the victims have not taken the right steps to protect themselves.
The regularity of these attacks is cause for concern. Thankfully, you can prevent many of them by doing the things we’ll discuss below.
Use Stronger Passwords
Your bank apps should have longer passwords—anywhere between 11 and 16 characters would do. They should also include characters of more than one type (letters, numbers, and symbols). Ideally, you shouldn’t use a word or phrase that a thief would guess, e.g. date of birth, name spelt backwards, or maiden name. Finally, use different passwords for each of your accounts. This makes it difficult for ill-intentioned agents to hack multiple apps.
Don’t Use Public WiFi
It’s risky to access your bank apps while using public WiFi. These connections are often not secure; hackers can get through them to spy on your phone and steal sensitive data from it.
Don’t leave your Bluetooth on, as doing so could open the door for intruders to access your personal details. Get rid of ‘remembered networks’ on your phone, so you’ll have to authorize a connection the next time you’re in their vicinity.
Take Extra Care With Downloads
Be careful about downloading files (video, music, images, or documents) from the web. There’s always a chance that such items are actually malware-infested. Downloading such files could give unauthorized parties access to your device, including your financial apps. Ensure that you have effective anti-malware protection, which could alert you to malicious websites and files, and abort potentially dangerous downloads.
Check Your Accounts Regularly
Keep tabs of your accounts often, at least daily. This will enable you to spot any anomalies with the accounts early enough, and report them to your bank. It’s understandable if you’re not keen on this, especially if you’re not expecting any significant transactions on your app. But you should monitor your banking platforms, as you can’t be sure when trouble will strike.
Don’t Disclose Your Banking Information
Never disclose your bank pin, password, app lock pin, or other sensitive banking information to anyone else.
You may get calls, text messages, or links inviting you to provide your bank app, account or card details to someone posing as your bank’s agent. Don’t fall for these scams. Keep your details out of the reach of the public, and away from even your friends.
Update Your Apps Regularly
App updates aren’t just about fixing bugs. They could come with improvements to security. Such upgrades may help you to stay ahead of cybercriminals and their latest tactics. On the other hand, keeping older versions of your banking apps could make you more susceptible to attacks from malicious actors who may have developed more effective ways to break through your apps’ defenses.
The security of your bank app largely depends on your ability to take measures that preempt the actions of ill-intentioned actors. We have discussed those measures here. Follow them to keep your banking information safe.
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