Community Banks Vulnerable to Cybersecurity Threats Due to Mobile Apps

Banking CIO Outlook | Thursday, October 04, 2018

Sophisticated digital products brought out by big banks are pressurizing community banks to develop apps of their own. With no in-house app development team, smaller banks have to rely on outsourced app developers. The increased demand to get an app to the market has put more pressure on these developers, thereby creating flaws which can lead to cybersecurity threats.

One major cause for concern is that some codes or features that developers may add for better user experience can have shortcomings on the security side. This is because developers are being forced to bring out apps at breakneck speeds and they tend to focus more on the user experience.

With over 6,000 consumer banking mobile apps in the U.S., the market is a rich hunting ground for hackers. Additionally, apps offered by several major banks are found to have security defects which could lead to theft of customer information, including passwords and PIN codes.

Currently, cybercriminals have shifted from hacking for volume to hacking through the path they believe is more vulnerable. Experts claim that they are becoming methodical and systematic in their approach. Additionally, newer areas of risk can arise while searching for a new mobile app provider, converting to a new core provider, or if changes have to be made to existing apps for adding new functionalities.

To counter these issues, the first and foremost thing to be done is for a community bank relying on vendors is to set guidelines for app developers. They should look closely at the different updates for apps that they have licensed and ensure that their vendors have secure development operations. Annual vendor reviews can help realize this. Another way to check the app security is to test any updates firsthand before releasing it to the market.

Despite all these, customers have a significant say in determining app security. Customers, most of the time, are unlikely to accept updates to increase the security if it limits the user experience. So a balance between user experience and security has to be ensured for a proper mobile banking app.

Check out: The Cyber Security Review


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