IT | Security

Mobile Payments and Mobile Theft: What You Need to Know

By: Absolute Team | 9/23/2013

Mobile payments and mobile banking are on the rise. Gartner estimates that worldwide mobile payment transaction values will reach $235.4 billion in 2013, a 44% increase from the $163.1 billion in 2012, with a continued annual growth rate averaging 35% per year. Money transfers account for the largest total transaction value (71%), followed by merchandise purchases.

As the services catch up with the convenience that mobile device offers to online shopping and banking transactions, more people will move e-commerce from transitional laptops and desktops to mobile devices. Pew estimates that 32% of US adults already bank with their mobile phones (compared to the 51% already banking online).

The increase in the use of mobile devices for banking and m-commerce (mobile commerce) is attractive to criminals, many of whom now harvest data from stolen phones before reselling the devices. Criminals are thus reaping a profit from both the information on phones (which can be used directly or sold online to cybercriminals intent on identity theft, fraud or corporate data theft) and the devices themselves.

Security Tips for Mobile Payments & Mobile Banking

There is no question that the ability to make payments, do banking or do purchases via the web or smartphone apps is convenient, so here are some ways you can protect yourself:

  • Back up your data (protected or not, it's no fun to lose it!)
  • Use a password or PIN to lock your phone and set a short duration for auto-locking
  • Don't auto-save passwords
  • Use complex and unique passwords (preferably saved by a password manager) on apps and websites
  • Only download apps from official app stores; read privacy statements and reviews carefully before divulging personal information
  • Look for secure sites with "https" not "http" or a closed padlock or unbroken key
  • Be cautious with your click - don't click on links from email newsletters from unknown sources, or on text message or social networking sites, particularly if they ask for any personal information
  • Pay with a credit card only (so criminals can’t access bank details from a debit card)
  • Shop on trusted websites rather than searching for the product online and buying from an unknown retailer
  • Be cautious using public Wi-Fi / consider a VPN
  • Encrypt your drive / data
  • Use a security app for virus protection (but beware fraudulent virus protection apps!)
  • Keep your device up to date
  • Don't jailbreak your phone!
  • Be aware of your surroundings and stay vigilant to avoid mobile theft (read more theft prevention tips here)
  • Use LoJack for Mobile Devices to track, locate, secure and return your stolen device (currently available for Samsung GALAXY S4 users). Remotely delete files or lock your smartphone to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.

LoJack for Mobile Devices is the only security software on the market offering a comprehensive approach to mobile theft. We go beyond just tracking stolen devices, we work with law enforcement globally to get the device back. You can also remotely delete sensitive files or, if the device is deemed unrecoverable, activate the "kill switch" for the ultimate in protection. Read more here.