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Mobile banking: Is it worth the security risk?


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This is a great article about the risks of text based banking. Also how to avoid some of the most used tricks used by criminals to part you with your login credentials for your bank.




"There are upsides and downsides to banking via text. Jack Wallen highlights the security-centric cost of text-based bankin


Recently I decided to give SMS banking a try. It was simple, convenient, and (as far as I could tell) fairly secure. I knew the features offered by my bank were innocuous enough that there'd be little to no risk.

So long as I used this service with an understanding that malice is always just around the corner.

Let me explain.


My particular bank doesn't offer a vast array of features with SMS banking. With it, I can:
•Retrieve nicknames for all my accounts
•Retrieve account balances of all accounts or a specific account
•Retrieve the last few transactions for an account I specify
•Retrieve a list of all supported commands
•Retrieve basic help
•Stop all text messages from the institution
•Retrieve the balance of a virtual wallet
•Retrieve rewards balance
•Retrieve any payment due listing


As you can see, from the above listing, this is very much a minimal relationship. The only data I am transmitting is brief commands so that my bank will respond with a reply to said command. Neither I or my bank are transmitting account numbers (or any other data that could compromise my account).


However — yes, there is always a however, let me posit something for you.

Phone numbers are fairly easy to spoof. Once someone has managed to spoof your number, they could easily pose as your banking institution and send you an SMS that you need to submit your PIN (or even account number), in order to continue with the service. You assume this to be a valid text and place that sensitive information in the wrong hands. You have been socially engineered and your account has been compromised.


How to avoid this

As much as I don't want to say this, I will: if you've made SMS banking a part of your daily (weekly, monthly, whatever) life, it is imperative that you not do anything outside of the given commands your bank supports. Know that your bank will not text you (they are not your BFF) and ask for your PIN, password, or account number. Should you receive such a text, call your bank immediately and ask if they sent this SMS message. They will say "No" and you can then report the spoofing.


A word about spoofing. Under the Truth In Calling Act, spoofing without intent to harm (or if no harm is done) is not illegal. If, however, harm is intended (such as stealing your bank account information), spoofers can face up to a $10,000 dollar fine for each violation. If you do suspect you have been spoofed, report it via one of the following means:
•File a complaint online
•By phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322); ASL Videophone: 1-844-432-2275
•By mail (please include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):


Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554"



The rest of the article covers more such as Setting up SMS banking, What is the cost?, Very convenient, mostly safe, and contains links to related information all here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/mobile-banking-is-it-worth-the-security-risk/?ftag=TRE684d531&bhid=19724681974700635514865380622813


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