Insecure Banking Apps

Hi All,

So I was in a meeting and a guy spotted my “Smartphone”. Great aren’t they he said! “Absolutely” I replied.

I use them for everything he said. This morning I transferred funds to pay suppliers and all before I left home. Do you use your for banking? Mmm I pondered “No I don’t”. Why not he exclaimed?

Well here’s 10 reasons from the top of my head, feel free to add more to this blog.

01) I recently checked the T&C’s (terms and conditions) from an Irish banking app and it wanted me to grant permission for the app to know my location (GeoIP). Not just that but it also wanted to be able to access any images on my device. When I contacted their support line to ask them why this was necessary. They replied , it was imperative to know my location just in case I ever wanted to use a future feature which would let me know where my closest ATM was. They could not give me any reason of why they wanted to access images on my device. For “support issues” they mumbled on the phone. If I wanted to use their app, I had no choice but to give them access to track my whereabouts, movements etc

02) There is no clear legislation that sets out your rights to receive a refund if your bank account is fraudulently emptied due to mobile bank app insecurity. The burden of proof seems to be on the user to protect their handset, operating system, software, mobile operator infrastructure and everything else in the “chain” of the transaction (including the banks!)

03) Of course you want to be able to use WiFi hotspots, this means you are in most cases operating on an insecure network. It’s so easy for “bad guys” to sniff the air with a free utility and read your details.

04) Most users have not even set up a basic passcode on their devices (smartphones, tablets). Therefore if some gets access to the device, they have potentially access to their bank account.

05) Further to my recent presentation on mobile security. You will remember that most app stores do not test the security of apps. It is very easy for the “bad guys” to put Malware in the apps that can steal information from your device or other apps on your phone/device (e.g. banking app). Or it can happen when the app updates.

06) Most Smartphone/tablet device users have not installed security software on their device. Therefore they have less security than comparing to a laptop or PC with security software installed.

07) The average Smartphone / tablet users does not regularly perform OS (Operating System) updates. Many of these updates are critical security patches.

08) Due to performance issues, many of the lower cost handset manufacturers are disabling security features in order to improve performance of the device.

09) Malware on the Android platform alone has gone up over 400% in the last year

10) The technology that keeps apps separate on device does not separate them out into private sandboxes. This means that one app can read the details stored in another app without much difficulty.

Hope you found this useful. More at or why not sign up for the Cyber Threat Professional Training course.



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