Recently a settlement was obtained between 2 companies with the FTC. The charge was that these organizations failed to secure their mobile apps, which put consumer’s private data at risk.
The FTC says that these companies disabled the SSL certificate validation. This default process confirms that an application’s communications are secure.
Because the SSL was disabled, the apps were made prone to cyber attacks, in which crooks could steal data like SSNs, home addresses and credit card information.
These attacks are the man-in-the-middle type and are a particular threat to unprotected public Wi-Fi (hotels, coffee houses, etc.).
If you use your mobile on an unguarded network, a crook can get in between you and the site you want to visit, and pose as you and communicate with the intended site. Posing as you, he can then manipulate your data. The scoundrel can also make your mobile visit a fraudulent site that you think is legitimate and lure you into entering personal information.
A website is secure if the site address begins with “https.” However, the smartphone’s small browser discourages users from checking this. And crooks know this.
Of particular interest to criminals is texting between banks and companies that utilize a one-time password. The crook can intercept this transaction and gain access to sensitive data. He can actually redirect an intended wire transfer to his account.
All of this can be avoided by avoiding online financial transactions with a mobile device on public Wi-Fi. Don’t even visit your bank’s site. Also don’t send personal information via e-mail on public Wi-Fi. If you must conduct mobile transactions in public, buy a Wi-Fi device, get a VPN like Hotspot Shield or use your carrier’s 3G or 4G network.
Finally, install anti-malware programs on your mobile, especially if it’s an Android. Don’t just sit back and assume that the app makers, app sellers and other businesses are going to take care of all of this for you.