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The Real Deal: Mobile Banking App Security

Updated: Monday, December 23 2013, 06:31 PM EST
TROY – If you’ve still got holiday shopping to finish up, chances are you’ll be keeping a close watch on your bank account and if you use mobile banking to check that account, beware.  A new study shows that there are still some major weaknesses when it comes to the security of mobile banking applications. 

While there are many of us who still bank in the traditional ways, nearly 35% of Americans now do at least some of their banking from their mobile phones.  A new study conducted by security firm Praetorian shows weak security in many apps.  “If we're doing online banking on a PC, we've been dealing with that problem and those security risks for a long time so we've kinda grown into, what do I need to do, I'm looking for https, I'm looking for the lock icon, I've got anti-virus installed but on a mobile or a smart phone, it's different,” says Reg Harnish of GreyCastle Security in Troy.

Security experts tested apps from 50 major financial institutions, 50 regional banks and 50 credit unions and found that 8 in 10 were improperly configured, “some of them, we don't even know what they're doing on our phone, are they listening to other communication? Are they're sending other information encrypted or unencrypted, so there's a lot of unknowns with mobile banking apps,”Harnish adds. 

The point of the study isn’t to discourage people from using mobile banking but to encourage banks to upgrade software and educate consumers on how to be smarter about how using the apps, “ if there's no awareness from a consumer stand-point of what can happen, you're more likely to make mistakes like not putting a password on your phone, it seems ridicules these days but I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed first-hand someone pulling their phone out of the holster and going to do their online banking,” says Harnish.  
The Real Deal: Mobile Banking App Security


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