FBI Warns Mobile Banking Apps Highly Targeted by Hackers: Here's How to Secure Your Accounts

This Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a statement warning that hackers were targeting mobile banking apps trying to take away the money of numerous people. These cybercriminals have jumped on the opportunity since more people are relying on online banking due to the global pandemic.

Are Mobile Banking Apps Safe?

The FBI has said that they are expecting hackers to find security loopholes in various mobile banking apps and they'll try to exploit the ones they find.

Entire states, cities, and local governments are urgently mandating people to practice social distancing, which has people resorting to using mobile banking as opposed to going to banks in person.

The FBI is expecting cybercriminals and hackers to look for people that are new to mobile banking and exploiting them. Their techniques vary from fake banking apps to app-based banking trojans.

Americans have the FBI urging them to be careful and examine apps closer when downloading them on smartphones and tablets.

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Banking trojans are used by cybercriminals to target people's banking information. The banking trojans are malicious programs that pretend to be another app like, for example, a tool or game. When the person with the banking trojan opens a genuine banking app, the banking trojan detects it and then releases the trojan onto the device.

The banking trojan replaces the authentic login page of the banking app with an infected version, which looks almost perfectly identical to the real thing.

When the user puts in their login credentials into the infected login page, the banking trojan relays their credentials to the authentic page and logs them into the app normally. The user won't notice that they were compromised since it still logged them in normally.

Some hackers made entire infected banking apps that pretend to be ones that major financial institutions use. The banking apps made by the cybercriminals get the user to enter their credentials, which the hackers can use once the user has logged in.

The fake banking apps will show an error message when the user tries to log in and it will use various smartphone permission requests so that it can get through the security code authentication process that the user would usually go through.

Many security research organizations in the United States reported that there were more than 60,000 fake banking apps found on major app stores. The fake banking apps are one of the smartphone-based's fastest-growing sectors.

Mobile banking security tips

According to the FBI, people can fight these threats by only downloading banking apps from the bank's websites or official app stores. Users should enable two-factor authentication on their bank accounts and use secure passwords.

When you stumble upon a suspicious app, ensure you're cautious and notify the financial situation that the suspicious app is imitating. Financial institutions will ask for your bank PIN, but they won't ask for your log-in credentials while on the phone.

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