Cyber Criminals Now Targeting your Mobile Banking App

Freelance contribution from Sally

Criminals are now targeting your mobile banking applications to initiate fraudulent transactions according to Remi Afon, the National President of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN). He said this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday. Afon also indicated that mobile banking fraud has become a major problem especially now that the number of mobile phone users has increased to over 140 million people. He stated that Nigerians should be made aware of the risks involved when using mobile banking apps in the upcoming conference tagged as “Implementing  Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practices in Nigeria”.

Why Nigerians are prone to Cyberattacks

Nigerians are prone to cyber attacks because there are no adequate controls and laws in the country that can help combat cyber criminals, according to Afon. Without these laws, some people turn to virtual private networks (VPNs) as a way to protect themselves from unsecured Wi-Fi networks, and hackers trying to hack into their phones. A VPN protects your privacy by using encryption technologies to make it impossible for someone to know what you are doing online or see where you are going.  However, you need to choose a VPN that is safe for your device and doesn’t affect its performance or download speed.   

Two-factor authentication in mobile banking

Afon also states that apart from inadequate laws, cybercriminals target mobile banking apps using malware and passwords they buy from the dark-web. Some banks protect their mobile banking apps using two-factor authentication.  Two-factor authentication means that you can access your account in two steps. The first step involves signing in with your password and then the next step is using a code sent to your phone through SMS to actually get access to your account. Since SMS can be intercepted, it would be better to receive two-factor authentication code via an authenticator app.

An authenticator app is a better secure option because it makes it harder for a hacker to infiltrate your mobile banking app. The two-factor authentication protects your accounts, but an antivirus can block a website that can automatically load phishing malware into your computer. Anti-virus software can also block websites that try to track you and target you with annoying advertising pop-ups.

How your password may end up being sold in the dark web

Hackers can get access to people’s passwords by hacking into their devices or through trial and error.  One way they may try to get your password is by looking at the information you expose on your social media posts. For example, when you go to the Facebook page of your bank seeking help and end up sharing your details on the homepage instead of sending a private message. Someone can take that information and sell it to a hacker who can use it to gain access to your banking app. Apart from that, the links that appear on your news feed on Facebook may actually be phishing links. Therefore, make the information you share on your social media only accessible to friends you trust.

To help stop cybercriminals from targeting mobile banking apps, the government needs to work with industry and cybersecurity organisations according to Afon. He indicated that although mobile technologies help Nigerians connect and use social networks, they have also increased cybercrime activities.

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