With the Coronavirus pandemic keeping many people close to home, the use of mobile banking apps has increased. Unfortunately, the FBI is predicting that this increased interest in mobile banking apps will also lead to increased cybercriminal activity on these platforms.
The two main ways cybercriminals exploit mobile banking platforms are through fake banking apps and app-based banking trojans.
- Scammers create fraudulent apps designed to look like the legitimate apps of financial institutions. The user downloads the app and enters their login credentials. According to the FBI, in 2018, nearly 65,000 fake apps were detected on the major app stores.
- An app-based banking trojan is a malicious program that disguises itself as another app, such as a game. When the user launches a legitimate banking app, the trojan creates a fake version of the bank’s login page and overlays it on top of the legitimate app. The trojan steals the login information, then passes the user on to the real banking app login so the user doesn’t even know their information has been compromised.
Mobile banking is a safe, secure option to access your accounts anytime, anywhere. But there are a few steps consumers can take to avoid falling victim to one of these scams.
Download apps from a trusted source.
The FBI recommends only obtaining apps from trusted sources such as official app stores or directly from bank websites. Links to download First Interstate’s mobile banking app from the App Store, Google Play, or Amazon are available on our website.
Use two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication, like that utilized by the First Interstate mobile banking platform, has proven to be a highly effective tool to secure accounts against compromise. It provides another layer of security beyond your username and password. Ensure two-factor authentication that is provided uses something like a text message, phone call, etc. and not simply a second password.
Use strong passwords and good password security.
Avoid reusing the same password for multiple accounts, and create strong, unique passwords. Create unique passwords for your banking apps and use passwords with a minimum of eight characters, including upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid common words or phrases, such as “password” or “123456.” For added security, use a password manager; don’t write down passwords or save them in a notebook.
Never give out your password. Remember, financial institutions including First Interstate will not ask for your login or password over the phone or via text.
Don’t click links in emails or text messages.
Many criminals use legitimate-looking emails to trick consumers into providing personal information. Make sure messages are from the financial institution before taking action.
If you see an app that appears suspicious, contact your financial institution right away. The security of your financial information is our top priority.