Secure Mobile Payments: 4 Ways to Win the Battle Against Malware
It’s been predicted that the total revenue of global mobile payment market will top 1 trillion US dollars in 2019. According to the Federal Reserve’s report, around 70 percent of US smartphone users spend more than 60 billion dollars shopping on e-commerce websites. Additionally, the aggregate rate of mobile payment transactions is expected to grow by 210 percent by year’s end. Due to this enormous growth, merchants from all around the globe started to embrace mobile payments in order to meet the growing demands of end users.
For both consumers and merchants, the prominent concern regarding mobile payments is security. If you are one of those people who believe in the scenario: “our goal is simple: it’s safety and security at each day’s end”, then here’s a good news for you. Mobile transactions are a lot safer than you think. It’s difficult for hackers and cybercriminals to get access to your personal & banking information in a data breach. This is true because rather than transferring your financial details, a coded version of your debit or credit card information is utilized to authorize payments. Below we have explained some safety tips for making secure mobile payments. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at them.
Download applications from reliable sources
First and foremost, whether you are an Android or iPhone user, there’s no denying that downloading applications from untrustworthy platforms (third-party) is quite a dangerous decision. Alternatives like the F-Droid and Cydia App store don’t have the same credibility as Google or Apple. Apps from unknown sources may contain malware, which can corrupt your device’s configuration, read your contacts & text messages, delete the contents of your SD Cards, and even can steal your financial details.
These spyware, adware, and other malicious programs are designed to capture your mobile transaction activities & banking information and send them to cybercriminals without you ever knowing. Kaspersky Lab’s report shows that over 320,000 new mobile malware programs (in the form of apps) were detected on smartphones that were downloaded using third-party stores. By installing products from such stores, you simply bypass security measures and make your phone vulnerable to nasty security threats. That’s why you should always stick to reliable sources to avoid the hidden dangers that lurk in various third-party app stores.
Keep an eagle eye on the app’s feedback and ratings
With over 1.3 million apps in the Play store and around 1.2 million in the App store, users might be overwhelmed by the array of choices. You should not just settle for the first option you come across. The Google Play Store and App Store allow independent or third-party developers to publish their apps and get a cut of the sales. However, some of the 3rd party apps are malware-riddled and contain adware, bots, rootkits, Trojan horses, worms, and other types of malicious content. Such applications tap into your smartphone and steal all the sensitive data.
Fortunately, by reviewing the app’s rating and it’s customer feedback, you can quickly determine if downloading a particular app is a safe bet and a gamble worth taking. Rating and reviews of an application are more than vanity metrics since they play a pivotal role in the Ranking Algorithm for the app marketplace. In addition to that, they are deeply intertwined with the app discoverability and evaluation process. Various reports demonstrate that about 70 percent of users read reviews and check rating before downloading an app. Also, around 10 percent of people like to install a product within the range of 4.5 to 5 stars. Below are some of the top benefits of app rating and reviews:
- You get clear, valuable, and honest information;
- Users can determine both positives and drawbacks of the product;
- You can see how many people have rated the app;
- You will find all the additional details about the app, including its size, current version, last update, permissions, interactive elements, and more.
Perform the following must-do tasks before getting your hands on a particular app:
- Find whether or not the application is published by a reputable developer
- Read development guidelines of the store
- Check if the web store looks legitimate and has a secure server
- Go through the developer’s other apps
Report any suspicious activity or transaction
If you suspect that your accounts have been compromised or believe that unauthorized electronic transactions have been made, then immediately contact a credit reporting agency nearby to place a fraud alert on your credit report. In case you witness any suspicious activity on your account, preemptively change your passwords. Below we have provided some steps that you should take into account:
- Use strong passwords to protect your mobile devices and lock apps
- Don’t send sensitive data through a public Wi-Fi connection
- Monitor your card accounts and check the transactions regularly
- Lock your phone or wipe all the data remotely if it’s lost or stolen
- Switch on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all your accounts
- Change your passwords at least once a month
- Be sure to sign into your online banking accounts often
- Report money transfers or transactions you don’t recognize
Always choose a secure gateway while making a payment
While making an online transaction on an e-commerce site, make sure you are processing mobile payments only over secure HTTPS connections. Whenever possible, utilize only reputable and trustworthy payment services for money transfer. These payment gateways are secure and dispute resolution services.
Bear in mind, online transactions should be secured with SSL protocol, and should only occur on a site that begins with HTTPS://. Websites that start with Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) ensure that your personal information (for example, passwords or credit card numbers) is private and secure when sent to those sites. Here are the three quick ways to check a site’s security:
- If you see a “green padlock” icon in the URL bar and web address starts with HTTPS, it means the website is shielded with SSL protocol.
- An icon that looks like “i encircled by a grey circle” means info or not secure. This symbol indicates that the site is not using a secure connection.
- A “red triangle with an exclamation mark inside” icon means not secure or dangerous. If you see this icon, don’t enter your personal or banking details on that page.
SSL helps to encrypt the information so that all your sensitive data is safe and protected. Furthermore, do not trust a seller whose site doesn’t have HTTPS (connection security) at the start of the web address. Also, pay close attention when visiting financial & real estate sites. Authentic websites, including Float and Arrow Properties, will have logos same as that for VeriSign. Visitors must tap the logo to verify the website identity and get additional information before making a purchase.
Using Mobile Point-of-Sale (mPOS) Systems, business owners can get more sales opportunities and a higher ROI. Both entrepreneurs and customers are getting a number of advantages from it. For example: Instead of packing your wallet with several credit or debit cards, smartphones give you the liberty to consolidate all your cards from Visa, Amex Express, and MasterCard in one single location.
According to YouGov, a market research and data analytics firm, around 56 percent of US mobile users believe that mobile payment system is not secure as it increases the chances of fraud and theft. In 2017, despite the fact, 177.7 million users (only in the US) browsed and purchased products on their smartphones. This figure is expected to grow to 202 million in 2020.