Tuesday, May 14, 2019

How to Stay Safe When Banking on Your Android

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Smartphones are the epitome of convenience, which is especially true for Android. The amount of customization you can apply is almost beyond limits, and if you play your cards right, you can create a unique and individualized experience. Yet somehow, all of the digital glitter of the new age has led many to take cyber security for granted and that all such issues will be taken care of by developers.

Not even close.

While it’s true that developers are actively working on eradicating every last vulnerability that can be found in Android OS, you still have to exercise caution when it comes to your online safety, particularly when dealing with any kind of funds. Accessing your bank account from your smartphone at any time you see fit sure is convenient, but do you know how to protect your sensitive login credentials and certificates?

The first step toward protecting yourself is knowing about the threats in the first place:

1. Learn how to defend against malware

It doesn’t even matter where you got infected, but if you’ve caught a certain type of malware, your entire Android OS could be compromised. For example, your browser might start redirecting you to suspicious websites without you even knowing, and if the hackers did their job right, the forged lookalike websites are almost impossible to spot. This can potentially trick you to land on a website that looks exactly like the one your bank has set in place, but in reality, it’s nothing more than a forgery designed to harvest your sensitive login credentials.

The solution is to install an antivirus and scan your smartphone on a regular basis. If you want to go a step beyond that, consider installing a firewall as well. By having one installed, you will be alerted whenever a process on your smartphone attempts to make any changes to the operating system.

2. Avoid unsecured WiFi networks

Are you living the dream of working from anywhere your heart desires, carrying nothing more than a smartphone in your pocket? The next time you’re sitting at a local coffee shop or restaurant, think twice about connecting to the free WiFi that comes with your order.

These tend to be unsecured as pretty much anyone can connect to them. Once a malicious actor enters the network and sets up the spying software, any piece of data you send through it can be intercepted.

Luckily, there is a solution that doesn’t involve you completely avoiding the public W-Fi networks altogether. By using a VPN, you can connect to any public WiFi network without worries of anyone stealing your data or login credentials, so you can access your banking account wherever you please.

3. Enable two-factor authentication

Enabling two-factor authentication is an important part of your online security. That way, even if a cyber criminal manages to get ahold of your login credentials, there is another safeguard in place. Without access to your phone, they will be effectively rendered useless for the purposes of accessing your account without you knowing.

4. Mind where you download bank software from

Don’t download the bank software from anywhere you see; it’s best to stick to verified sources only (typically, that would be the bank’s official website). There may be hacked versions of it that are masquerading as the real thing. In reality, these are nothing but a fake designed to steal your login credentials. Since it doesn’t take too much time to download it from the official website, taking any unnecessary risk is not worth it.

5. Lock your phone while it’s not in use

A fleeting moment of lost focus is all it takes for someone to snatch your smartphone while you’re not looking. This could prove troublesome if you’re logged in to your bank account at the time. So lock your phone as soon as you’ve stopped using it and enable auto-lock after a set period of time has passed as an extra precaution.

6. Don’t save anything into the browser’s auto-populate fields

That way, an unauthorized individual will have a harder time extracting the data from your browser. Sometimes, however, the fields get populated automatically without you having a say in the matter. Regardless of that, clearing the browser’s cache should help.

7. Switch off the Bluetooth

This will ensure that nothing happens on your smartphone behind your back.

8. Refrain from jail-breaking your phone

Doing this will grant you more control over what you can do with it, but it comes at a cost. In other words, it will be more vulnerable to exploits as a result.

9. Learn all about phishing and don’t fall for it

Phishing is one of the most common scams designed to separate you from your login credentials (and, in turn, the funds in your bank account). While this is a broad topic, here’s a quick and dirty trick on how to avoid 90% of phishing scams: never access your bank account from anywhere else apart from the official app and website. This means you should never click on any banking links you receive through email or messages, even if the sender claims to be one of the bank’s employees.

10. Keep your password in a safe place

Until we reach the point of inventing mind-reading technology, your head should be the safest way to stash it. But if you absolutely can’t remember it by heart, simply start using a reliable password manager.


Do the things listed above, and you’ll be on your way toward a safer online banking experience. While not everything mentioned here is an absolute must, the more you do, the better.

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