Why banking from your phone might be safer than your PC
The proliferation of mobile banking apps has been a great convenience for some, but a cause for concern for others. In this age of identity theft and security breaches, the desktop computer ensconced in your living room might seem a safer bet than the smartphone sitting in your pocket.
Strange as it seems, it’s actually the other way around. In fact, many of the perceived security risks of a smartphone are actually assets. For instance, you might have worried about your phone’s ability to record and share location information.
“But that’s a very strong factor to authentication,” says TK Keanini, the chief technology officer at a network security and compliance auditing company. “I’m at a certain spot, and I’m authenticating it. There’s no way I can be across the country doing the same thing.”
The fact that your phone is so completely tied to your identity makes it easier to prevent fraudulent activity in a variety of ways. Not only does checking on location data and other activity help make sure that it really is you when you access your accounts, but your phone is also an easy way to reach you quickly. If something looks suspicious to the financial institution, they can call or text you right away to make sure the transaction is valid.
Online banking from your computer also requires you to go through your financial institution’s website, which can be compromised more easily (although still difficult) than the mobile banking apps available for smartphones and tablets.
“No online banking is completely safe, period,” says Clay Calvert, director of cybersecurity for an IT consulting firm. “However, unrooted tablets and cellphones are much safer than using PCs for banking. The primary reason for this is that applications are vetted before they’re sent to the app store and made available for download. Apple and Google specifically look for malicious behavior built into apps that are submitted by developers and will reject anything that presents potential security risks.”
Finally, hackers and would-be thieves have been developing ways to attack PCs for decades; viruses and malware for smartphones are far more scarce, while new security technologies are being developed more rapidly for mobile devices.
“New smartphones are already being released to leverage biometric-based security,” says mobile banking expert Pete Daffern. “The newest version of the Android mobile operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, uses facial recognition technology to unlock a user’s phone. And Apple’s introduction of Siri on the iPhone is setting the stage for voice recognition capabilities to come.”
Long story short: you’re better off doing your banking from a personalized device with carefully constructed apps than with the more vulnerable and less trackable web forms accessed from PCs. So, don’t get jittery about the security of your smartphone. Convenience doesn’t always mean reduced security, and in this case, you can have your cake and it eat, too!
Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.