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News

Barclays Mobile Banking App Security Considerations

Stonesoft Networks : 27 February, 2012  (Technical Article)
Stonesoft comments on security considerations for the Pingit app launched by Barclays bank for mobile banking
Barclays Mobile Banking App Security Considerations
Barclays’ new app “Pingit” (for mobile payments) links a person’s mobile number to their bank account and allows for payments to be transferred through their device. Barclays claim that the app is “as secure as any regular banking transaction” and that “users must also use a new, five-digit PIN code to access the app”. However, whilst it negates the need to actually share bank details, what are the other security issues surrounding such a concept?

Ash Patel, country manager for UK & Ireland, Stonesoft, provides his opinion: “Based on the information available so far, I feel that whilst the concept is good, there are a number of security risks which users must consider.

“Firstly, when using the application on our mobile device, we are trusting that the device is secure and has not been subjected to any security breaches. However, as we all know from recent news reports, Android in particular has many security flaws and hackers will look to exploit these. One threat which users must be particularly aware of is keylogging – this is when a hacker implants malware on a device and is able to monitor the user’s key strokes. If a hacker successfully planted this piece of malware on a user’s devices they would have no difficulty in extracting the user’s 5-didget pin-code.

“Other considerations include, how well encrypted is the mobile communication over the mobile airwaves? Can the app be remotely removed if the devise is lost or stolen? There’s no doubt that such an app will use a lot of data, therefore what are the communication/data costs from the operator?”
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