June 15, 2020

FBI issues alert on mobile banking app cybersecurity threats

SecurityThe FBI released an alert to warn the public about anticipated exploitation of mobile banking app platforms as in-person access to financial institutions has been limited amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Americans are increasingly using their mobile devices to conduct banking activities such as cashing checks and transferring funds,” the FBI noted in the alert, issued last week. “US financial technology providers estimate more than 75 percent of Americans used mobile banking in some form in 2019.”

The alert warns against app-based banking trojans, which are “malicious programs that disguise themselves as other apps, such as games out tools,” and fake banking apps, which are designed to impersonate the real apps of major financial institutions.

In addition, the FBI provides tips to protect both consumers and financial institutions from these threats, including:

  • obtaining apps from trusted sources only, such as a bank's website or an official app store;
  • enabling two-factor authentication, which is a highly effective tool to secure accounts against compromise;
  • using strong, unique passwords that are eight or more characters and contain upper case letters, lower case letters and symbols; and
  • reaching out to the financial institution if their app appears suspicious, via a verified customer services number posted on its website.

For credit unions, the NCUA has a webpage with cybersecurity resources available, as well as information for consumers on

As a leader in calling for national data security standards, NAFCU has many resources available to ensure credit unions can effectively identify and address cybersecurity concerns.

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