Threat Brief: Embrace Mobile Banking with Caution

The Brazilian Central Bank recently announced that 2017 was the first year in which people did more banking using mobile devices than on PCs. There were 24.5 billion mobile banking transactions while there were 20.6 billion PC-based transactions.

Not all countries are embracing mobile banking as quickly as Brazil. But, mobile banking use is picking up around the globe.


What is it?

As more people move to mobile banking, we believe attackers will focus their attacks away from PC banking and towards mobile banking. This means the risks of losing control of your accounts through mobile online banking are likely to increase. And that means the money in your accounts is at risk.


Why should I care, what can it do to me?

Attackers are predictable: they follow people and money. Brazil was one of the first countries to widely embrace Internet banking and to see attackers go after Internet banking.


What can I do about it?

It’s time to take precautions and start good mobile banking security habits.

  1. Get your mobile banking apps only from official sources like the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Follow your bank’s directions to ensure you get their official app.
  2. Keep your apps and devices up-to-date. If your device won’t run the latest versions of Android or iOS, it’s time to upgrade.
  3. Run mobile security software on your devices.
  4. If your bank offers additional login security, sign up for it. This is sometimes referred to as “additional tokens” or “two-factor authentication”.
  5. Enable your device’s “remote wiping” feature and make regular backups. If you lose your device, use the “remote wiping” feature to ensure people can’t use it to steal your money with it.
  6. If possible, sign up for extra security with your cell phone carrier to ensure only you can get new phones on your account.



Threat Briefs are meant to help busy people understand real-world threats and how they can prevent them in their lives.

They’re put together by Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 threat research team and are meant for you to read and share with your family, friends, and coworkers so you can all be safer and get on with the business of your digital life.

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