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"Going Mobile. Local executive carves niche as national expert on fast-growing banking-industry technology trend" - Scott Olson, Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ)

"Brandon McGee, the industry's unofficial ambassador for mobile banking" 

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mobile Banking & Security

This year I have poured over hundreds of articles, white papers, case studies, and survey findings and one consistent theme through-out is that customers must feel that mobile banking is safe and secure; otherwise, you can throw all of those lofty penetration and growth estimates in the "circular file".

So, with that in mind, let’s discuss the topic of security. What are the strengths and weaknesses?

Strength: From my research I feel like many, if not all, of the vendors in the market do in fact - "get it." When they were developing their products they realized that information security was a critical element, and that MFA compliance would be essential. Additionally, they did a great job of eliminating sensitive information when it wasn't needed (i.e. requiring nicknames instead of using account numbers.) Vendors - nice job!!

Weakness: This will not be a surprise, but it's something that I had not yet considered - the greatest weakness in the safety and security of the mobile environment is the - mobile banking user. Much like traditional online banking, the greatest threat is that the customer hasn't taken the necessary precautions to ensure their own safety.

For example, answer the following questions:
* Do you have your phone setup to require a password? Nearly every phone on the market has functionality built right in.
* Have you installed anti-virus software on your mobile device?
* Do you only download ring tones, photos, and games from trusted sources?
* What are your default settings for your Bluetooth and Beam?

Like to learn more? Check out this information on the Microsoft site:

Help avoid computer viruses that spread over mobile devices
Windows Mobile Antivirus Partners

1 comment:

Marco Morana said...

Even if I agree in general that users are the weakest in the security link from the bank to the mobile applications on users cell I would be careful to make the assessment that vendors have done a good job on securying the applications as well as their network. Mobile applications for banking increase the level of exposure to new threats such as reverse engineering besides increasing exposure to identity theft and fraud. Also from the perspective of security it is important to be in control of the trust boundaries between the mobile app and the telco and between the telco and the bank. This can be different if the telco owns the mobile application vs. the bank owning it.