Make Our Devices Great Again

Would you believe that only 35 years ago, China wasn’t even nearly the top manufacturer in the world? In fact, up until the 1970s and 80s, 60% of Chinese citizens worked in agriculture, which meant that the average per capita income was only 1/3rd of sub-Sahara Africa. But then Chinese manufacturing exploded, and so did their economy. Today, China has risen to be a superpower and is the largest manufacturer in the world, but they’re paying for their rise. You’ve probably seen pictures or heard of the terrible air pollution in China that occurs from a combination of coal burning, poor weather conditions, and climate change, and much of it is to blame for how rapidly their economy has grown.

Their industrial revolution occurred so quickly that they couldn’t keep up with environmental regulations and practices, and now they’re paying the price. Unfortunately, the mobile banking industry is experiencing the same problems.

Earlier this month, Pradeo Security Systems published a report on the security of several mobile banking apps belonging to the largest banks in the world. They began by testing one app, but once it failed they decided to test another, and after that failed another, and another, and another, until they found that so many mobile banking apps were failing that they expanded their test to 50 of the top 100 banks in the world.

But the failures didn’t stop there, because every single app they test failed.

100%, 50 out of 50, complete failure, whatever you call it not a single app they tested was found to be safe from cybercriminals. Pradeo didn’t even plan on publishing the results of their test, but after the failures, they felt compelled to.

Just like China’s economy, the mobile banking industry grew much faster than reasonable regulations could keep up with, and that’s a serious problem considering that the banking apps can give access to personal information and savings. It’s not just mobile banking that’s being made dangerous by the tech craze. Doing any research on the Internet of Things will tell you that devices across all industries are being created without cybersecurity in mind. Banks and manufacturers failing to do their diligence when it comes to cybersecurity will have consequences. In terms of mobile banking that will mean breaches that result in lost money and identity, while we can already see the consequences of poor IoT security in DDoS attacks.

But manufacturers and banks aren’t the only ones to blame here.

No matter how secure an app is, if people don’t follow simple security standards like creating unique and complex passwords or enabling two-factor authentication on their devices, then the app’s security measures won’t matter one bit. Or if a person exposes their phone to malware that allows hackers to discover the user’s login credentials, no matter how well an app is guarded, the hackers will get in. But the #1 reason that mobile banking apps and IoT devices aren’t required to be secure is that people simply don’t care enough for manufacturers to care.

The Chinese people are so sick and tired of pollution that they protested until the Chinese Premiere came up with a plan to fix the problem and to “Make our skies blue again.” How many hacks and lost dollars will it take before U.S. consumers get fed up and demand better security?

Who knows, but you can help create the needed changes by taking your own cybersecurity seriously. Simply checking out a blog or following an IT professional on social media is a simple step you can take to securing your own money and information while also encouraging others to do the same.

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