British shoppers spent £1.39 billion last Black Friday, with 39 per cent being spent via smartphones. The event offers huge opportunities for hackers, and this year has already been plagued with breaches of household names. Fraudsters are also increasingly targeting customers via mobile online banking channels. For example, SIM swap fraud, which involves hijacking customers’ phone numbers to gain access to mobile accounts has rocketed 60% from 2016. With this in mind, shoppers need to be especially vigilant when making purchases via their mobile devices and take steps to protect themselves and their sensitive data.
Here’s four tips for secure mobile app shopping this Black Friday.
1. Keep your apps updated
Shopping on phones is becoming more popular, and with fraudsters increasingly targeting mobile apps, especially around big shopping days, it’s more important than ever to keep apps and software updated. It can be all too easy to avoid that little notification reminding you to update your apps or phone software, but repeatedly hitting “remind me later” can unknowingly expose you to security threats. Developers are often working to make sure software is as secure as possible, so if you’ve always got the latest version on your phone, you’ve also got the most secure one.
2. Take advantage of multi-factor authentication
When logging into an account, you’re typically asked for a username and static password. If a hacker gets hold of these details, they can then access any other account that uses the same credentials, which is why people should be using unique passwords across all accounts.
It’s also vital to take advantage of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and other security features offered by apps. This means that a hacker will need another piece of information such as a PIN, a fingerprint, or another authentication app if they want to gain entry into an account.
3. Know your institutions
Challenger banks have risen in popularity over the last year, which is tempting many users away from traditional players. But whoever you bank with, make sure they’re taking steps to actively protect your transactions. So what should you look out for? Make sure they’re using the latest biometric technologies, and application shielding. These can protect, and mitigate attacks from criminals who are trying to make money out of your personal information.
Similarly, only install apps from trusted sources, such as Apple or Google’s official app stores. That way you know you’re always downloading a genuine, up to date version of an app.
4. Avoid rooting or jailbreaking your device
It can be tempting to remove software restrictions by rooting or jailbreaking your device, but it’s a risky practice and one you should avoid. By removing these restrictions you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to a wide range of attacks.