It’s been over 20 years since we were first treated to internet access through our mobile phones. The 1996 release of the WAP-enabled Nokia 9000 Communicator gave us an early glimpse into a future of endless interconnectivity and the possibilities that came with it.
Despite mobile banking in 1999, it took more than a decade for even 10% of users to manage their accounts or put down Snake for long enough to make a transaction via a dedicated service for handsets.
The arrival of the modern smartphone and the powerful performance of Apple’s iPhone helped to bring mobile banking into the mainstream thanks to greater levels of convenience and better security for users. Today, we’re used to staying on-the-pulse at all times, night and day, and access to mobile banking is a big part of the convenience that we’ve become accustomed to. But how safe is it to manage money via our handsets?
Just two years ago, a major security breach happened when malware designed to steal unwitting victims’ banking information made its way on to Google’s Play Store for Android users. ‘Bankbot’ as the fake app was known, was capable of not only stealing sensitive details but also of unlocking two-factor authentication security.
Despite this, many experts claim that mobile banking can be much safer than managing your finances on a computer. So let’s take a look at the best ways of accessing your money through smartphones:
Like with online banking, mobile banking cannot be thought of as entirely risk-free, but as Steve Newson writing for Starling Bank notes: “the additional hardware security features in mobile devices can make mobile banking more secure than its online counterpart.”
Times change quickly. For much of the 21st Century, computers ruled the roost when it came to secure browsing through more reliable servers and virus protection services. But thanks to the mobile phone’s better practicality, handsets were able to evolve and become more secure. Today, top-of-the-range smartphones carry facial recognition sensors to guarantee that only a registered user can access their personal information. Many models available today include other biometrics like fingerprint readers.
The arrival of biometrics comes as great news for banking apps – with companies able to let customers handle their money with much less risk and without the flawed dependence on passwords and ‘memorable phrases.’
It’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t guarantee privacy when dealing with finances on your smartphone. 2018 saw a big rise in the prevalence of malware, and if a handset is infected then personal data will always be at risk.
Moreover, the current cell market lacks security and is “liable to multiple flaws – intermediary links, excessive expenditures and tech lagging”, argues Petr Malyukov, Co-Founder and CEO at Irbis Network.
Following the dramatic rise of Bitcoin in 2017, cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more popular among traders and investors.
It’s vital that cryptocurrencies are kept safe, especially as they’ve become a common target for attackers over the previous decade.
While it’s advisable that anybody holding a cryptocurrency should do so in a dedicated ‘wallet’ that’s able to store data offline, sometimes keeping your digital assets disconnected can feel impractical. Luckily, there are some great apps out there capable of acting as a secure wallet for smartphone users.
CoinMetro, for example, offers a secure service that lets users ‘cold store’ their cryptocurrencies offline. CoinMetro allows you to exchange and trade major cryptocurrencies with ease despite your money not always staying connected.
Combining safety and smartphones
Attacks on our mobile privacy are becoming more frequent as hackers begin to pinpoint smartphones as the most profitable object to exploit. Luckily, as the tools available to break into our handsets become more powerful, so too does our defences against them.
If you’re looking to handle money using your smartphone, there’s already plenty you can do to make sure your device is as protected as possible. From enabling the many built-in biometrics that modern handsets incorporate, to purchasing antivirus software, our phones have become arguably safer than any PC-based way of managing money online.
by Dmytro Spilka, founder and CEO at Solvid.
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