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mobile-payment-securityCyber criminals are increasingly targeting mobile devices as use of the technology continues to grow.

Mobile devices can be full of personal and professional information that cyber crooks would love to get their hands on. Mobile devices, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices are vulnerable to the same virus, spyware and phishing threats as a home or business computer. There are also some unique risks that can affect mobile devices.

While banks use sophisticated safeguards to protect customer information, it is important for consumers to take safety measures, too. Remember: a mobile device –phone or tablet — is like a little computer, and any device used to connect to the Internet needs to be protected.

These practices can help you protect your mobile device:

  • Keep your device safe. The portability of a mobile device makes it prone to be misplaced or get stolen. It goes without saying, users take care!
  • Configure your device to be more secure. Make use of the security options your mobile device offers. Enable file encryption and remote locate and wipe abilities, if available.
  • Use the passcode lock. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information, if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your device from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Use caution when downloading applications. Downloaded apps are an easy way for hackers to compromise the security of your mobile device. Apps can contain malicious software, worms and viruses. Only download apps from dedicated app stores and avoid “jailbreaking” your device (removing restrictions or making modifications to the operating system that are not authorized), which can open the device to malware and voids your warranty, if a virus does occur. Review the app’s privacy policy and understand what data the app can access on your device before you download. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
  • Download updates for your device and mobile apps. Make sure you are running the latest version of your operating system, security software and web browser. Developers are constantly working to find and remove bugs and other “holes” that could make your device more vulnerable.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords, a social security number or bank account numbers on your mobile device.
  • Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are entering sensitive information.
  • Use secure sites. When banking or shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. The web address “http://” is not secure.
  • Delete data before discarding your mobile device using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended method.
  • Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you do not know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
  • Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections are not secure. Do not perform banking transactions or any business that involves finances or other personal information, including login and password information, on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.
  • Disable interfaces when not in use. Leaving interfaces like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and infrared on or visible when they are not in use can make it easy for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities of the software used by these interfaces.
  • Only give your mobile number to people you know and trust and never give out anyone else’s number without their permission.

Contact your financial institution immediately, if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device and to report any suspected fraud.