Fraud & Security

How to Keep Your Information Safe from Malicious Smartphone Apps

Lately, we’ve seen a rise in the amount of Malicious Mobile App, or MMA, attacks that continue to get more and more sophisticated. With the majority of people spending more time at home and doing most of their banking online, it is likely that cyber-attacks, such as MMA’s, will continue to increase.

About Malicious Mobile Apps

There are a variety of MMA’s out there with various ways they can steal your information and, ultimately, your hard earned money. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to know what to look out for. These are the four main types of MMA’s:

Spyware

Spyware is used to “spy” on everything that is done on your device. Relevant activities such as texts, emails, calls, location, contacts, and browsing history are tracked.

Trojans

Trojans generate calls, texts, and purchases that are then billed to your device.

Phishing

Phishing websites look like a trusted website, such as your online banking platform, but are actually clones used to steal your login credentials and other information.

Hidden Processes

Hidden processes run in the background on your device, invisible to you. They lie in wait for something relevant to happen, like for you to login to your online banking app, and then they strike, stealing your information.

How to Protect Your Banking Apps

As always when it comes to scams, you are your own first line of defense. Take the following precautions to protect yourself from being the victim of an MMA scam:

  • Always install software updates on your devices and the applications on your devices
  • Never install an app using a link from a text message
  • Don’t disable the built-in security on your device that prevents the installation of apps from unknown sources
  •  Don’t root or “jailbreak” your devices – this allows downloading of unknown apps or “sideloading”
  • Be careful when downloading apps from the app store. Try to only download apps with trusted developers and make sure you review what “permissions” an app is asking for when you download it.

If you download all of your apps from the Google Play store, for Androids, and the App Store, for Apple devices, the chances that you will download a MMA is less than 1%. Stick with your device’s app store as your only method of finding new apps. Follow the same rules that apply to avoiding other online scams, such as:

  • Do not click on links in emails you were not expecting
  • Do not download attachments (or apps) from emails you were not expecting
  • Do not click on links in text messages or social media messages if you were not expecting them
  • Verify the sender of an email, text, or social media message before taking any kind of action

As always, stop, look, and think before taking actions on any electronic device to keep yourself and your information safe. If you think you may be a victim of a malicious mobile app, please call our Contact Center at 888-777-9982, and we will help you secure your Patriot accounts and determine the best next steps.