iPhone 6 (and beyond): Mobile Security School, not for Dummies

Last week as I was leaving my apartment for the office, I noticed a team of New York City police officers taking a report. I found out later they were writing up another “snatch and grab” of a smartphone, ripped from the owner’s hands in broad daylight as he chatted. Apparently smartphone theft, particularly iPhones, has become very common. I got to thinking that as the “street value” of smartphones goes up thefts will continue to increase, especially when the new iPhone 6 is launched in a few weeks, and as well as when competitors’ newer, maybe smarter versions hit the market.

But in spite of these physical threats, it is an exciting time for consumers to experience the “mobile super channel” and meet more of their day-to-day banking needs on the go. Unfortunately, though, the cyber-fraudsters are seeing this trend, too, and hope to capitalize on it.

To help thwart criminality of the mobile and digital variety, Apple may have plans to arm its phones with new technologies – for example, we hear that the new versions will probably have near-field communications (NFC) and secure element (SE) technologies, which would provide a broad technology portfolio to prevent corrupted mobile payments.

As a digital risk advisor, I wholeheartedly recommend that financial institutions push and bolster their security strategies for protecting both consumer smartphone and mobile transaction channels more broadly. As consumers increase their use of mobile and multi-location in the use of smartphones, iPads, and other devices, retail banking isn’t in just one single transaction spot any longer and banks should update their approach to keep pace.

Here are some “must do’s” I would suggest for the financial institutions that expect to progress their relationships with a digitally-oriented customer base:

  • If you have not begun to add mobile channel data to your cross-channel transaction monitoring program, now is the time
  • Build Mobile profiles, key indicators and predictive models into your fraud systems– the Mobile channel is rich with data
  • Create the ability to change your fraud protection strategies for Mobile “on-the-fly”
  • Protect your Mobile Banking App at all costs, there are technologies that do just that
  • Don’t forget about the Mobile Browser transactions, cross channel is the key
  • Monitor your Mobile Wallet transactions with your Mobile Banking transactions, really protect at an end point, channel, payment and customer stream

My real objective for the financial services industry is pretty simple – to convey a strong message to their customers that if a customer becomes a victim of a “snatch and grab”, he or she knows that the money is protected and fraudsters get less satisfaction from their dastardly deeds.

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