Millions of people use their desktop computer, smartphone, iPAD, or laptop to expose their banking account information, including their credit and debit card numbers, to theft and fraud by cyber-criminals. Online banking is very convenient, saves time and money, and gives us something productive to do with our computers. It is also very dangerous, particularly when using a mobile device to perform banking transactions. See Cell Phones And Phishing Attacks: Do You Use Your Phone Safely, and Update: Cell Phones And Phishing Attacks: Do You Use Your Phone Safely for more information.
Bank of America boasts offering mobile banking to more than 21 million customers:
Using the mobile browser on their cell phone or smartphone, consumers will be able to access a full range of Online Banking services, including:
– Check account balances for checking, savings and credit card accounts, mortgages and home equity lines held with Bank of America. – Pay bills. – Transfer funds between Bank of America accounts. – View transaction details for Bank of America checking and savings accounts, mortgages and home equity lines, including posted, pending and scheduled transactions.
A new startup company called Budgetable offers to provide its customers:
…personalized deals from only your favorite stores. By connecting to your credit and debit cards, the site detects which stores you spend the most money at and gives you deals for those stores.
“People want to take advantage of deals, but they don’t have the time to look for them by searching through countless websites,” Ryan Bales, founder of Budgetable, told Mashable. “Budgetable looks at what stores they shop at most and provides them with deals for those stores.”
I’m not suggesting that everyone stop using online banking…but I am saying, as loud and as seriously as possible, that
1. Conducting online banking should be done using a wired, malware free, home computer; and
2. Online banking should never be conducted with a mobile device, especially a smartphone.
Why, you might ask, is this experienced technology professional discouraging me from using some very cool technology to perform tasks that will save so much time? Because it’s not safe…it’s as simple as that. But, if you must use online banking, do so as safely as possible—using a wired computer at home. And by making sure your banking institution uses online security best practices such as encryption, using security cookies on your computer (to identify access to your account by a strange computer), and by employing requirements for strong, regularly changed passwords.
I’m also suggesting that before you expose your banking account, credit or debit card information, by conducting online banking transactions that could be done from home, or as with the service noted above by Budgetable, just to obtain some coupons, that you make a thoughtful and wise decision based on whether this small convenience is really worth the risk. Is it really worth exposing your credit and debit cards to a company that might be a target to be hacked by cybercriminals to steal yours and others’ card numbers? I think not. Likewise, is it really necessary to move some cash from your savings to your checking account using your mobile device, rather than doing it from home? Again, I think not.
Mobile devices are computers…period. Computers that have been and will be hacked. We need to realize that fact, come to grips with it, and secure them as such.
I’m stepping off my soapbox now…hoping that you’ll give serious thought to what I’ve said and do something about it.
As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.