Keep Your Money Safe

How to be cau­tious while trans­act­ing on­line

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - By Nidhi Singal il­lus­tra­tion by Raj Verma

Con­ve­nience comes at a price. although on­line bank­ing has made our trips to the bank in­fre­quent, it has put our money and data at a huge risk. more than 25,800 fraud cases re­lated to credit/ debit cards and in­ter­net bank­ing were re­ported in 2017 (up to De­cem­ber 21), ac­cord­ing to the re­serve bank of in­dia. with the mush­room­ing of pay­ments apps, users are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing vul­ner­a­ble to phish­ing and mal­ware at­tacks.

shock­ing as it is, not even the es­tab­lished banks are in­su­lated. Quick heal se­cu­rity labs de­tected an an­droid mal­ware that has been tar­get­ing over 232 bank­ing apps in­clud­ing those of sbi, hDfc bank and icici bank.

“most con­sumers are con­fi­dent that they’re safe on­line, but hack­ers have proven oth­er­wise,” says ritesh cho­pra, coun­try man­ager, con­sumer busi­ness unit, syman­tec.

although not every app or plat­form is be­ing at­tacked, be­ing cau­tious never harmed any­one. here’s what you can do to safe­guard against on­line frauds.

to start with, cre­ate a bar­rier by pass­word-pro­tect­ing all the de­vices – lap­tops, tablets, pcs and smart­phones – that you may or may not use to ac­cess bank web­sites or pay­ment apps. set a daily trans­ac­tion limit and turn on the two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion sys­tem. this two-step ver­i­fi­ca­tion process re­quires you to en­ter ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion such as a ver­i­fi­ca­tion code, a spe­cial pin or num­bers from the back of your card. sign up for log-in no­ti­fi­ca­tions wher­ever avail­able and al­ways log out of the ses­sion af­ter trans­act­ing. chang­ing ac­count pass­words reg­u­larly is a good prac­tice.

the num­ber of users opt­ing for on­line bank­ing is ex­pected to dou­ble – to 150 mil­lion – by 2020, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by bos­ton con­sult­ing group. this is thanks to the rise of smart­phones and pay­ments apps promis­ing us bet­ter deals and more handy ways to trans­act. pay­ment-re­lated apps present an am­pli­fied risk of frauds and need to be dealt with more cau­tiously.

in­ci­dence of hack­ing and mal­ware is very high on the an­droid mo­bile plat­form; whereas on the ios op­er­at­ing sys­tem, it is rel­a­tively rare. even though app de­vel­op­ers in the pay­ments space are de­ploy­ing the best se­cu­rity mea­sures avail­able, there are nu­mer­ous third-party apps that in­fil­trate your mo­bile to ac­cess crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion.

“mo­bile bank­ing apps do not ad­e­quately shield their apps to make them tam­per-proof. app shield­ing in­cludes code ob­fus­ca­tion to pre­vent re­verseengi­neer­ing, and anti-tam­per­ing mech­a­nisms such as cer­tifi­cate pin­ning and de­bug de­tec­tion. cur­rently, apps im­ple­ment plat­form-spe­cific best prac­tices, but they are in­suf­fi­cient to pro­tect against at­tacks across the de­vice, net­work and app tiers,” ex­plains man­ju­nath bhat, re­search Di­rec­tor, gart­ner.

in the maze of sim­i­lar look­ing apps pub­lished on app stores, know­ing the au­then­tic ones is crit­i­cal. steer clear of coun­ter­feit apps by check­ing the de­vel­oper/pub­lisher name. be cau­tious about the per­mis­sions an app seeks at the time of in­stal­la­tion.

“con­nected de­vices (smart­phones) are at an in­creased ex­po­sure to cy­ber risks, which gets fur­ther ac­cen­tu­ated by mul­ti­ple mo­bile apps. the risk in­creases sig­nif­i­cantly with the apps, since they get ac­cess to lot of in­for­ma­tion from the phone such as ac­cess to the phone direc­tory, mes­sages, pic­tures, etc. some of these apps have the abil­ity to even re­motely share this in­for­ma­tion,” says atul gupta, part­ner and head - it ad­vi­sory (risk con­sult­ing), kpmg in in­dia.

when you log in to a pay­ments app, do not auto-save any in­for­ma­tion, be it the log-in cre­den­tials or the card de­tails. apart from pass­word-pro­tect­ing these apps, it is ad­vis­able to up­date the apps and the de­vice’s op­er­at­ing sys­tem when avail­able as the up­dates of­ten in­clude se­cu­rity patches against pre­vail­ing at­tacks.

be cau­tious about the per­mis­sions an app seeks at the time of in­stal­la­tion

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