Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile banking platforms have experienced a 50% surge in use. This shift is likely to have positive long-term implications and savings as banks gain the ability to serve their customers with fewer staff members and smaller retail footprints, but at the same time, the move to online services emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity.
Cybercriminals are already taking advantage of this trend, and according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), consumers and bankers need to be aware of the threat. How can you protect your mobile banking app from cyber attacks? Check out these tips.
1. Beware of Banking Trojans and Fake Apps
To minimize risks to your banking app, you need to stay abreast of the threats. In its June 2020 announcement, the FBI cited banking trojans and fake bank apps as the two largest threats.
Banking trojans are viruses that hide on consumer’s phones until they download a banking app. Once the virus detects an app, it overlays onto the app and steals the consumer’s username, password, and other sensitive details, giving criminals all the information they need to drain the consumer’s account.
Fake banking apps are also a threat. Designed by cyber criminals to trick consumers, these apps mimic the features of a genuine banking app, but instead of giving a consumer access to their account, they trick the consumer into sharing their sensitive details with a cyber criminal.
2. Educate Your Customers
Consumer education can be one of the most important lines of defense against cyberattacks to banking apps. Provide your customers with educational tips and strategies to help them stay safe. Ideally, you shouldn’t offer the same tips to everyone. Instead, customize your messages based on consumer actions.
For instance, if you have customers who have never used your banking app, send them an invitation to join as well as tips on how to make sure they are downloading a legitimate app. For instance, urge them to only get the app from an official app store or your website. If they do a web search for the app, they may stumble onto a malicious website set up just to trick them into downloading a fake app.
In that same vein, if you have customers who have recently started using your banking app, consider sending them tips about how to create a strong password, the importance of dual factor authentication, and why they should never share their password over the phone.
3. Watch Out for Big Game Hunters
Although many banking trojans are still targeting individual banking customers, cyber criminals are also using trojans as the first step in ransomware attacks, and this trend is growing. In the cyber security world, these multi-stage malware attacks have earned the nickname “big game hunting” and they typically involve a malspam or phishing attack, followed by an infection, which leads to the spread of ransomware through an enterprise network and ultimately to the encryption of as much data as possible.
Why are criminals taking such a circuitous route instead of just initiating a traditional ransomware attack? Because this path gives them enhanced control over the attack and by targeting more devices, they are able to steal more money. A well executed ransomware attack can net a criminal millions of dollars at once, while stolen account data tends to take a lot more time and effort to turn into a cash payout.
4. Leverage Cyber Intelligence to Protect Yourself From Emerging Threats
At this point, you’re probably wondering how you can protect your financial institution and your customers from these types of multi-level threats. Again, education for your customers and employees can be essential, but even more importantly, you need cybersecurity tools with a heavy emphasis on intelligence. By monitoring public and restricted data sources such as the darknet, the deep web, and hacker forums, cyber security firms stay on top of current and potential threats, and they use this information to protect your financial institution.
5. Invest in Cybersecurity Protection
Cyberthreats are always changing, and to protect your bank, your customers, your reputation, and your bottom line, you need a cybersecurity partner who stays on top of the treats and provides your bank with the tools and solutions to detect threats before they start to hurt your financial institution.
At SQN Banking Systems, we focus on fraud so our clients can focus on running the other aspects of their banks. Want fraud protection you can trust? Ready to protect your financial institution from the next generation of cyber threats to mobile banking apps? Then, contact us today. Call us at (609) 261 5500 or fill out the contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.