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How To Develop A Secure Mobile Banking App

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By Author: Artsiom Balabanau
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The mobile universe is expanding. There were 3.6 million smartphone users five years ago; now this figure has doubled, and by 2026, it is expected to reach 7.5 million. Banks, like other industries, are actively applying mobile innovations. At the same time, banking applications collect, store, and transmit huge arrays of sensitive financial data. How can developers avoid risks when building FinTech applications for mobile banking?

Banking boom

For financial institutions, digital banking has become part of their business models. Experts predict that the mobile payments market will grow by an average of 29% each year and will have reached $8.94 trillion by 2027. This growth is driven by users' love of the convenience and flexibility of digital products. Most people check account balances, transfer money, and pay for products and services via mobile apps.

The only obstacle to innovation in FinTech is security considerations. On average, 30-40% of online banking users are worried that someone will steal and illegally use their personal data, seize their credentials to steal money, issue them fake bills, etc.

To ...
... create secure FinTech applications, financial institutions need to find a balance between innovation and security. How can this be done?

Vulnerabilities of mobile banking apps

Hacker attacks usually target devices, networks, and data centers. Information security company Positive Technologies has found that in 13 out of 14 mobile banking apps, hackers can obtain the means to access the client’s data, and 76% of vulnerabilities don’t require physical access to the clients’ devices.

The most common causes of vulnerabilities in FinTech apps are:

- broken authentication and access control,
- confidential data disclosure,
- incorrect security configuration,
- cross-site scripting,
- insecure deserialization,
- using components with known vulnerabilities,
- insufficient monitoring.

Ideally, the mobile development lifecycle should be organized according to the Security by Design principle, combined with regular vulnerability checks, configuration assessments, and source code reviews. By implementing security at all stages of development, you will eliminate vulnerabilities even before the product enters the market.

How to develop secure banking apps

Mobile development is constantly evolving, and new tools and technologies that need to be combined with the latest advances in security are emerging.

Best practices for securing mobile FinTech applications are based on the following methods:

Multi-factor authentication. The application must have several-step verification to access accounts - for example, passwords, fingerprint scanning, and SMS.

End-to-end encryption. When text, video, audio, and photos are transmitted in encrypted form, this ensures user privacy.

SMS and email alerts. The banking application must have the function of sending notifications to clients in the event of any action being carried out from their accounts: cash withdrawals, transfers, etc.

User activity monitoring. There are special programs for location monitoring, which send alerts to a bank client if they have noticed that suspicious transactions with the client's account are taking place.

There are more technologies for securing mobile FinTech applications, and a development company will help you choose the most suitable one. In general, mobile banking applications that are created following the latest security requirements reduce risks for customers and increase their confidence in the bank.

More About the Author

My name is Artsiom Balabanau, and I have ten years of experience in the IT industry building a path from a Business Innovation Consultant to a Senior Manager. Currently, I work as a CIO at Andersen. Being a part of the IT family for years, I aim at transforming IT processes in support of business transformation.

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