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Fraudulent Smartphone Apps Pose Greater Risk to Consumers

18 October 2019 - 10:06 by Mike Price

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An investigation into the risks associated with smartphone use by RSA Security has identified fraudulent mobile applications as being an increasingly popular method by which personal data and cash can be stolen from innocent victims.

In the first six months of the year there was a 191 per cent increase in the number of attacks aimed at retailers through mobile devices and services, equating to more than 100,000 attempts to overcome security measures.

In particular, there was a trend for criminal groups to create fake applications which piggyback on established brands in an attempt to dupe consumers into downloading them.

Analysts also found that 2019 has been a big year for malware campaigns which target financial institutions and platforms, meaning that there are still a variety of threats out there which need to be dealt with to ensure that safe shopping online can be carried out by everyone.

Report spokesperson Daniel Cohen said that while the growing digitisation of mainstream services such as retail and finance was a positive step, it also opened up avenues for fraudsters which could be exploited again and again if not kept in check.

Part of the problem lies in the sheer number of points of access to services which are now available to consumers. This exponentially increases the potential array of vulnerabilities and makes it harder for retailers and security firms to plug any weaknesses.

While it is still important for businesses to take responsibility for protecting customers, experts continue to push the idea that consumers cannot afford to be complacent in the current era of growing online fraud. Vigilance is essential, and there are lots of ways to achieve improved levels of protection, such as only shopping with trusted brands using official apps that are thoroughly shielded against subversion.