Financial institutions are increasingly concerned about securing their mobile apps and preventing user data compromise. Unfortunately, many apps are becoming popular targets for hacking and identity theft. To protect networks and user data, financial firms are taking a proactive stance with security. According to a recent Fiserv survey, 53 percent of US consumers have a strong distrust of online security. Despite that apprehension, financial mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience. In fact, the same survey found that usage of services such as mobile bill pay increased by 50 percent this year.
Financial institutions, are under pressure to add convenient, mobile applications and also boost security to encourage users’ trust in them. Here are ways financial firms are walking the fine line between access to popular mobile services and securing customer data:
Mobile App Security Strategies Worth Exploring
Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your app security. Here’s a quick overview of methods financial firms employ to keep their apps secure.
Encryption: End-to-end encryption can protect consumer data, a popular target for would-be hackers looking to make a quick buck from app users, at rest or in transit. With the significant role financial institutions play every day in financial transactions, it’s essential to have appropriate encryption protection in place.
Multi-Factor Authentication: Instead of relying on just a password, multi-factor authentication’s features of security cookies, user fingerprints, and one-time codes, help financial institutions keep mobile app data secure. It’s a common feature but one many app developers skip because it requires more effort on the user’s part. For instance, apps such as Mint require users to enter a pin every time they access the app on their mobile device.
NFC-Embedded SIM Cards: Near Field Communication (NFC) SIM cards can help protect consumers by allowing them to download their information onto a secure SIM card and avoid carrying their actual credit card. This protects their account information and may keep their mobile app information secure.
Account Monitoring: Using software to monitor account activity and flag unusual behavior can also help protect your customers. Activity such as unusual spending pattern or a sudden series of large transactions that aren’t typical for an individual customer could be warning signs of a hacked account. By studying typical spending patterns, the program learns what to flag so you can proactively stop identity theft in its tracks.
Electronic Documentation: Digital signatures and electronic documents allow you to securely record permissions and customer information and they can now be done with mobile applications. This also helps your financial institution go paperless and have customers sign online. You’re ready for audits with a strong paper trail that’s actually much better than paper.
Using these and other smart online security methods, financial firms are preparing themselves for the worst hackers can throw at them. An increased focus on security prevents firms from becoming a bigger target, while improving consumer confidence.
3 Ways to Boost App Security
To improve mobile app security, consider focusing on educating and informing your customers about remaining safe online. There’s plenty that financial institutions can do to improve network security, but when it comes to mobile apps your customers must also work with you to protect their information.
Educating your customers and giving them the information they need to guard themselves can reduce their chances of falling for social engineering traps designed to steal their passwords, account information, and financial history. Many app users don’t think they’re at risk of hacking when using a smartphone. It’s important to help them understand how to stay safe no matter what device they’re accessing the Internet from. Consider taking these steps:
- Inform your customers about the risks presented by hackers. For instance, help them understand why it’s important to avoid using public WiFi for financial transactions and share why it’s dangerous to click links from emails asking for their account information.
- Educate customers about mobile app threats. Explain that threats that exist on the computer can happen on smartphones. Remind them to only load applications from authorized sources. Remind consumers to do their part to protect their security when using mobile apps.
- Advocate for stronger password security. Encourage your customers to choose complex passwords and make sure their multi-factor authentication methods are chosen and set.
By taking these steps, you’re developing well-informed customers who understand how to reduce their risks when using mobile apps for finance, which lessens exposure for your financial firm. DataComm’s network security services and consultation can help improve your organization’s defenses against a cyber attack. Contact us today to learn more about how DataComm can help.