Mobile banking apps are set to revolutionize how we bank. According to KPMG, the number of mobile banking users globally is forecast to double to 1.8 billion over the next four years. In the UK regulators have announced new rules to let customers access details of their entire finances through a single mobile phone app by 2018. In the US mobile banking industry, technology has yet to overcome fundamental trust issues but the idea is starting to take off among financial services consumers. The banks and financial institutions are working hard to make their mobile apps as secure as possible. User behavior meanwhile has some catching up to do. For example, connections to free and unsecured Wi-Fi are open and vulnerable to fraud. To reduce security risks, it’s a good idea to use a virtual private network (VPN). This is a tried and tested way to secure the connection and encrypt all data transferred between the mobile device and the bank.
At last, influential policymakers are slowly becoming aware of the damages unsecured IoT devices can cause. Recent attacks on high profile targets, exploiting cameras and routers, have attracted a lot of attention. Some of the issues will not likely be solved until manufacturers improve the security of their systems. However, many attack vectors could be eliminated easily with appropriate precautionary measures. Currently, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) is drafting a new module to address IoT device security. Although it does not refer to specific manufacturers or technologies, the proposal includes concepts for securing IoT devices so that they cannot be manipulated or accessed without authorization to compromise data and IT security within an organization or to target other organizations.
Another first for 2016: at the weekend, another unprecedented event occurred which left significant numbers of Deutsche Telekom customers with difficulties accessing the internet or no internet access at all. As is now widely known, the outage was caused by a malicious attack – which was not entirely successful − rather than a technical fault. The attackers attempted to exploit the TR-069 protocol used on customer routers and add them to a bot net. 900,000 users are reported to have been affected.
Bitcoin, the digital currency underpinned by block chain technology, is still in its infancy and users are only just beginning to scratch the surface of its full potential. Even so, things are already heating up for dealers in Bitcoin. This year, the total value of Bitcoin transactions is expected to exceed $92bn – up around 240% from under $27bn in 2015. Bitcoin transactions typically make use of aliases or nicknames to disguise user identities but this does not make them anonymous. However, the combination of a virtual private network (VPN) and Bitcoin can guarantee privacy. The encrypted connection provides a cloak of invisibility for all transactional data and provides complete anonymity for buyers if they want it. This is especially true when purchasing digital goods like software, books, reports, databases and so on.