SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Nikita Ivanov, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Sean Houghton

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Top Five Mobile Banking Security Tips From Tech CU

First Major Mobile Banking Threats Hit the U.S.; What Consumers Need Know

SAN JOSE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 08/27/14 -- A record number of consumers today are banking on their mobile devices for everything from balance inquiries to mobile deposits. According to research group AlixPartners, mobile banking is now used by 28 percent of banking Americans, with 60 percent of smartphone/tablet users saying mobile banking capabilities are "important" or "extremely important" in their decision to switch banks. With this convenience, however, comes the potential for fraud and security breaches.

This summer, the first major mobile security threats hit the U.S. -- malware called Svpeng and HijackRAT -- signaling financial institutions to step up security. Technology, however, is less of a risk factor in mobile security than consumer behavior, according Kevin Alsup, vice president of information and administration at San Francisco Bay Area credit union Tech CU.

"We use multiple forms of identity authentication, log-in procedures and encrypted communications, and perform extensive native app and WAP security testing to prevent criminals from accessing confidential information," he explained. "The bigger threat is someone who is unmindful while online, but a few simple steps can help prevent fraudulent activity, especially for things like hacking and phishing."

Here are five things Tech CU recommends everyone do to protect against fraud while banking on their mobile device:

1. Protect Your Device

  • Password protect your mobile device with a strong PIN that's not easily associated with you, lock your device when not in use, and always keep it in a safe location.
  • Do not hack or modify your device. This may leave it susceptible to infection from a virus.
  • Whenever possible, install mobile security software on your device. Only use software from reputable providers, such as McAfee Mobile Security.
  • If you change your mobile number or lose your phone, immediately contact your financial institution to change your mobile banking profile.
  • Perform regular, automatic backups of your mobile device data, which allows for quicker data recovery when needed.

2. Verify Apps and Keep Systems Up-to-Date

  • Only download mobile apps from trusted sources. Before downloading any mobile banking app, verify that it's from your financial institution.
  • Ensure all apps and your operating system are up-to-date and know what security features, operating system components, or access controls you are granting.
  • If you think you've downloaded a fraudulent mobile app, contact your financial institution immediately.

3. Be Smart About What Information You Share and Where You Share It

  • Protect your information on public, unsecured WiFi networks. Best practice: don't conduct transactions where you need to reveal personal or private information on an open network.
  • Never disclose personal information about your accounts via a text message (i.e. account numbers or passwords) or any information that can be used to steal your identity, such as your social security or driver's license number.
  • Frequently delete text messages from your financial institution.

4. Monitor Frequently

  • Monitor your accounts regularly, and turn on alerts to stay abreast of any suspicious activity.
  • Watch for notifications from your financial institution about the dangers of malware, scams or questionable free apps.

5. Report Immediately

  • If you see fraudulent activity on your account, contact your financial institution immediately.
  • Review and consider placing a fraud alert on your credit reports. Close or change any accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Visit www.techcu.com or contact Tawnya Lancaster for more information.

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