If you’re like millions of others (specifically, 57% of all smartphone users in the U.S.), you use a phone for just about everything, from scheduling appointments to sending emails and even your banking. You can feel confident that ECCU’s new mobile banking app offers both ease of transactions and the highest level of security. Because mobile is incredibly convenient, it can be easy to forget a bit of caution.
To keep all of your mobile experiences worry-free, our IS (Information Security) specialists share their top ten security tips:
- Lock your phone.
First and foremost, enable a PIN to unlock your device before using it. According to makeuseof.com, not locking your phone is perhaps the top oversight by smartphone users. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest to remedy. Consider that when you keep your phone locked, no one can simply turn it on and begin using it, making it difficult for fraud to start in the first place.
- Take due diligence with passwords.
Always choose a robust password and avoid the obvious, like your birth date or the ever-popular: 1234. Choose a different password per device and establish a schedule to keep them fresh. We typically recommend using at least eight digits even though it may seem slightly inconvenient.
Also, avoid saving passwords in your phone’s browser. It is a simple step to take, and a much safer mobile practice. If saving passwords is non-negotiable, try a password management program for your device. They can assist with the secure storage of passwords.
- Verify an app’s source before downloading.
Thieves access a lot of information through fraudulent apps. These phony apps often contain malware designed to hijack your data. Download apps only from trusted sources, like Google or Apple. If you’re an Android user, try using the ‘Verify Apps’ feature.
- Use a mobile banking app.
Encryption levels are safe and secure via a downloaded mobile app and provide express communication with the financial institution’s site. For added security, after you finish the transaction, log out and close the app. Also, keep your mobile banking app up-to-date with the newest version available.
- When taking care of business, check that the site is secure.
If using your phone’s browser is necessary for shopping or a financial transaction, ensure that https:// appears BEFORE the web address. (Even if you have logged into the site already.)
- Keep malware top-of-mind.
Howstuffworks.com says that malware continues to be the most dangerous threat to mobile device users. (Malware is software code that can steal password and account number information.) Your phone saves a significant amount of data. This information may include debit and credit cards, PINs, websites visited, and even transaction history.
- Avoid phony emails and text messages.
Do you know the sender of that email or text message? By opening a spam email or a fraudulent text message, you can unintentionally load malware onto your phone and make your data prone to thieves.
- Never text sensitive information.
Text banking has been around longer than mobile banking, and when used appropriately, is secure. Bear in mind your device saves text messages, so keep your phone locked. And never share any personal information, including full account numbers, via a text message. Hackers sometimes pose as financial institutions to garner private information, so be guarded if someone solicits you by text.
Note: ECCU will NEVER call, email or otherwise contact you and ask for your username, password or other online banking credentials.
- Be choosy how you conduct transactions: pass on public Wi-Fi.
Use your phone’s data plan instead. It’s encrypted and more secure. Even at reputable hotels, cafes or the airport, it’s best to avoid using hotspots. Public networks can leave your data open to thieves censoring the network traffic. (For example, attackers can set up bogus Wi-Fi networks and perform ‘man-in-the- middle’ attacks when you connect.)
If you need to use a public hotspot, ensure the site is legitimate before logging in, and belongs to a trusted business. Preferably log in via a VPN or Virtual Private Network (source: makeuseof.com).
- Take extra precautions.
Keep your phone’s operating system up-to-date; older versions may have publicly known security flaws. Also, look into safety features such as remote lock and remote wipe. Remote lock lets you put your phone on ‘lockdown’ remotely, preventing anyone access; remote wipe erases (‘wipes clean’) your phone entirely. You may want to download anti-virus software. And finally, it’s wise to take advantage of your device’s GPS tracking system to locate a lost or stolen phone.
You can rest assured:
ECCU uses the highest level of security and encryption levels on all eServices, including our new mobile banking app. While the app offers a full range of services – from check deposits, transfers, bill payment and more – it’s equally secure as the online version. For more tips, watch our mobile video or learn more about safeguarding your information.