Mobile Banking Global Security Best Practices Launched

September 25, 2008 - Mobile banking is one of the fastest growing applications in financial services today and there is a promising interface between mobile phones and ATM networks.

The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) has launched Best Practices for Mobile Device Banking Security. The aim of the best practices, which may be the first of its kind, is to promote lifecycle security for mobile banking.

Interesting facts summarised in the book’s Executive Summary include:

Mobile phone banking is in a high-growth phase with at least 90 companies emerging in recent years offering banking and payment applications for mobile phones

It is estimated that as much as half of the world’s population may now own a mobile phone, with about 80% of the US population thought to own one

The World Bank estimates that about two-thirds of the world's population live within range of a mobile phone network

It is expected that around 2.3 trillion SMSs will be sent in 2008

Mobile phones tend to be replaced every 18 months, compared to PCs being replaced on average every 42 months

“Fraudsters will target any channel which distributes value, customer data or electronic money, “ Lee said. “The rate of loss of mobile phones averages one every minute in the world. If the whole industry could adopt a holistic approach and plug any gaps in the security lifecycle by applying these best practices and conforming to standards a Trusted Environment for mobile banking will prevail.”

The new best practice manual covers the following steps in the security lifecycle: SIM card security, mobile software security, enrolment, registration, and customer access to banking on mobile devices, security and privacy of customer details/data, customer education on the mobile phone as an instrument of value, dealing with lost or stolen mobile phones/devices, security of software and transmission to financial services device (e.g. ATM), , defining strengths and vulnerabilities of each mobile phone channel/protocol and outlining the regulatory framework for mobile banking.

“The mobile phone has been used very successfully as authentication tool for online banking, through a confirming SMS sent by the bank to the customer during online transactions. It has already proved its worth in the field of banking security,” Lee concluded.

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