In the world of mobile, convenience is king. The majority of innovations revolve around making it easier and more convenient to use your phone for web browsing, shopping, and so on.
But what has the experts talking these days is not convenience, but rather mobile security.
A recent survey by ISACA of cybersecurity experts shows that experts are sceptical about how secure mobile payments really are. The survey included over 900 cybersecurity experts and produced some interesting, albeit unnerving data:
- Nearly half (47%) feel mobile payments are not secure, and 30% are unsure.
- 87% expect to see an increase in mobile payment data breaches over the next 12 months
First of all, it helps to understand where security threats are coming from. ISACA asked the experts what they felt is the most significant security vulnerability with mobile payments and received the following responses:
- Use of public Wi-Fi (26%)
- Lost or stolen device (21%)
- Phishing/ smishing (phishing via text messages) (18%)
- Weak passwords (13%)
As the retailer you have little control over whether your customers are using public Wi-Fi or if their device gets lost or stolen. However, you can use strategies such as two-factor authentication and require customers to use strong passwords (at least 8 characters, capitals, and numbers) to reduce the chance of a security issue.
Customers aren’t the only one getting plagued by mobile security issues either. A study by IDC found that nearly half of the businesses they surveyed experience security/compliance issues. Shockingly, 50% of companies have zero budget dedicated to securing their mobile apps, despite the fact that 90% of the top mobile apps have been hacked.
One of the most interesting findings in the study by ISACA is that despite being unconvinced that mobile payments are secure, 42% of the professionals surveyed said that they have used a mobile payment platform to make a purchase. Clearly an apparent threat to security is not enough to deter mobile shopping all together.
Embrace and Educate
So is mobile payment security impenetrable or inadequate? It depends. If people protect their accounts and passwords, and educate themselves on secure mobile shopping habits (such as not shopping via public Wi-Fi), then there is not a lot to worry about. As Christos Dimitriadis, the ISACA International President said, “the best tactic is awareness”. So if you are a retailer, consider embracing a mobile payment option for the greater convenience it offers your customers, but also embrace the best practices and technologies of cybersecurity.
Simply put, no technology is perfect so don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. In this era of incredibly sophisticated cyber criminals, any internet-connected technology is vulnerable to attack. And it’s not just mobile payments that have security threats, so do online payment processors and even that trusted credit card in your back pocket.
There are ways to defend yourself from hackers. ISACA’s suggestions include using two-factor identification, requiring a temporary authentication code, and installing phone-based security apps. Some more suggestions include being consistent in your security across all channels and to never allow data to leave your control. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t feel paralyzed by the presence threats to mobile payment security because it can be defended against both from a retailer and consumer perspective. So with Cyber Monday not too far away, feel free to shop on your phone or offer your customers a mobile payment option!