Mobile Adoption Said to Spike After Hackers Target Online Banking

Here’s a paradox for you: Generally, a certain portion of consumers – a whopping 68% of smartphone users, according to a September report from California-based software security company Metaforic — avoid mobile banking because of security fears. Yet, the great banking security scare that started at the end of last September, the DDoS (or distributed denial of service) attacks on major banks, have actually driven mobile adoption higher, according to market sources.

Huh? Why is that happening, you ask? The answer, said Joram Borenstein, senior director of global product marketing at financial security firm NICE Actimize, is that the DDoS attacks targeted websites and, therefore, affected those who bank online, but not smartphone and tablet apps, and so mobile users were spared any inconvenience.

“Online users were driven to alternative channels across the board,” Julie Conroy, research director at Aite Group, told Bank Innovation.

Conroy also said she understands that, in some cases, the sources of the DDoS attacks attempted to penetrate bank security and access accounts, rather than just block access to accounts online.

“This was not about a YouTube video in Egypt,” she said, referring to one theory about a religious motivation for the attacks. “It’s about money.”

Bank Innovation covered the DDoS attacks here. When we spoke to Akamai security evangelist Mike Smith last month, Smith claimed that the superiority of mobile security is a myth. Paul Davilman, fraud product marketing manager of NICE Actimize, puts it slightly differently: “The number of attacks on mobile apps is relatively miniscule. Adoption is catching up, so one would have expected attacks to have caught up by now. Mobile was designed from the get-go with security in mind. Bad guys haven’t had enough time to dig into the mobile ecosystem.”

Let’s hope so.

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