Tag: mobile banking app

FBI issues warning against mobile banking

An official from the Federal Bureau of Investigation has cautioned consumers about the “new and highly sophisticated danger.”

A top FBI official has now released a statement to consumers that warns them of the “new and highly sophisticated danger” that is associated with the risks and vulnerabilities in mobile banking.

As a growing number of people look to mobile payments and wallets, the security risks are also rising.

According to the FBI’s Cyber Division assistant director, Joseph Demarest, “Vulnerabilities in mobile banking pose another new and highly sophisticated danger, as mobile banking vulnerabilities may exist on mobile devices that are not patched, and malware can be developed to specifically target the use of mobile devices.” Demarest made this statement as a part of prepared testimony that he presented in a Senate Banking, House, and Urban Affairs hearing on cyber security that was held last week.

There are many different threats to security, but malware is very high on the list in compromising mobile banking apps.

Mobile Banking Warning - FBIDemarest specifically pointed out the vulnerability that exists in the malware called Zeus-in-the-middle, which is a mobile version of the malware threatening PCs and laptops called GameOver Zeus. The original was exceptionally sophisticated and was one of the most challenging malware types that “the FBI ever attempted to disrupt,” said Demarest.

The GameOver Zeus malware was created to swipe the banking credentials that could be used by cyber criminals to be able to either create or redirect wire transfers in order to send the funds to bank accounts located overseas. More than 1 million computers were infected by that malware, worldwide. It led to an estimated loss of more than $100 million.

Although the mobile security threat version of that malware, Zeus-in-the-Middle, has not yet caused the same degree of loss or damage as its PC based counterpart, the fact that it exists at all should be seen as a reflection of the kind of risk that is present and growing in mobile banking and other smartphone and tablet based platforms. These vulnerabilities can make their way into devices by way of infected apps, speak phishing emails, and a number of other pathways.

Mobile banking accounts launched by Citibank

These products will be available exclusively to customers who will access them over their smartphones and tablets.

As much as online bill paying and digital transaction processing have become exceptionally commonplace, mobile banking has been experiencing a relatively slow adoption, comparatively speaking.

Some tenants are now capable of paying their rents electronically to skip paper checks, but smartphones aren’t there yet.

That said, as companies behind mobile payments work very hard to encourage consumers to use their smartphones instead of credit or debit card, a rising number of options are becoming available. Many are hopeful that the recent release of Apple Pay, along with the NFC enabled iPhone 6 will help to convince consumers to use this type of technology. At the same time, Citibank is looking at a mobile banking option that provides an account that is exclusive to smartphones and tablets.

The mobile banking account is called Access and Citibank has made it exclusively for these device users.

The primary market for the Access accounts are the Millennial generation, which typically down even own a checkbook and that are very used to paying their bills and making purchases online. This generation is also very comfortable with completing a large range of different tasks through the use of their smartphones and tablets.citibank - mobile banking

Millennials are actually the biggest age-based demographic that are compete non-users of paper checks. Overall, though, 32 percent of consumers still use a paper check to pay at least one bill, whereas slightly more – 38 percent – pay at least one bill electronically.

As a whole, 12 percent of all Americans have said that they do not use their checkbook – regardless of whether or not they ever had one. Many of those who do still use checks use them for only one or two bills every month. Among the most common uses for this type of transaction is to pay rent.

Citibank is now seeking to move this type of transaction in a new direction with mobile banking and is aiming this product at the demographic that is most likely to be open to adopting it. According to the Citi U.S. chief operating officer of retail banking, Robert Beck, “We developed Access after spending a lot of time listening to customers and looking at their banking needs, and we identified several trends.”