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Created on 06.05.2019

Online security – even with mobile devices

Fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, speech recognition and microchips instead of constantly typing in passwords: nearly every day, new features pop up that are designed to make our lives both easier and more secure. But what devices are suitable for e-banking, and what do we need to bear in mind in terms of online security?

Nowadays, we are so used to using all sorts of new features and devices that it’s almost impossible to imagine living without them. Take mobile payments, for example. If you forget to take your wallet or purse when you go out, you no longer have to spend the whole day borrowing money from work colleagues. Instead, you can use your phone to make electronic payments with ease, no matter where you are. Thanks to the latest technology, we might not even need wallets and purses at all in future. Perhaps just a chip will be enough to carry all your data – from personal photos to important documents – in digital format.

But before we look to the future, we should first ask ourselves what devices, software and systems are already popular for managing finances? And how can we ensure all these devices are used properly in a way that guarantees online security? 

E-banking: the devices we like using the most

Smartphones

Good for paying bills from the comfort of our own sofa or even when we’re out and about. In the PostFinance App, you can save time thanks to the Scan + Pay feature, which enables you to quickly scan your invoice number and immediately confirm all the payment information digitally on your phone. The quick access to the app also saves you a lot of trouble – you can find out how much money is in your account at any time and what the most recent transactions were. Another reason smartphones are becoming increasingly suitable for finance is mobile payment. You can save your credit or debit card details on your phone and make payments without having to reach into your wallet or purse.

Security tip

It’s vital you protect your smartphone in case it falls into the wrong hands. There are now even more ways to lock your phone than a simple password, pattern or PIN. For instance, you can scan and save your iris, your fingerprint or your whole face. Speech recognition is also becoming increasingly popular for this, and is a very practical way to use your smartphone. 

Computers or laptops

These are suitable for more complicated tasks such as budgeting or filling in your tax return. A laptop can also be used to back up photos and data, because it’s easier to organize important documents and pictures on computers than on smaller devices. 

Security tip

Even though fingerprint sensors and iris scanners are already built into new computers, you have to activate them first in the majority of cases. Speech recognition also has to be installed using a microphone. If your device does not have these features, you can still buy the necessary hardware for them. 

Smartwatches

There are countless models on the market. Thanks to voice recognition, which is becoming more and more technologically advanced, they are very practical and easy to use when you’re out and about. One popular use for smartwatches is making payments.  

Security tip

A smartwatch also needs “smart security”. Because they contain sensors which perform functions such as counting your steps, they also store completely different data. To prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands, you should make sure you are familiar with the cyberrisks associated with smartwatches and try to boost security wherever possible. 

Looking ahead to the future: voice assistants and microchips

Whether it’s tech companies, futurists or the screenwriters of science fiction films, everyone speculates freely about technological developments. One area with a great deal of potential both in the near future and at present is speech recognition – i.e. using your voice to give commands without even needing to touch your device. In Switzerland, however, not all popular speech recognition assistants from major tech companies are available – which means we are lagging behind when it comes to active usage. In the meantime, the financial industry is focusing particularly on voice assistants and speech recognition, as well as on how we can manage and handle our financial affairs using our voices in future.

And what about the distant future and the chip mentioned earlier? This isn’t merely science fiction, either. Even today, there are “transhumanists” who wear microchip implants under their skin, meaning they carry the most important data with them at all times. Admittedly, a chip implant is still too abstract for the majority of us, but the idea itself is already viable. Implanted microchips could, for instance, be used to pay for items in shops.

Side note: WeChat as a specific example from China

There is another example of a future-proof piece of “software” (or rather an app) that we cannot ignore. Anyone who has been to China can’t possibly have missed WeChat. This is not just a messenger app like WhatsApp, but a full package comprising all the services you could need in everyday life, all combined in a single app. This means that in addition to chat, shopping and ways to book appointments (at the doctor’s, hairdresser’s and so on), users also have WeChat Pay integrated into the app – a mobile payment system. However, this all-singing, all-dancing app has also faced criticism for being a surveillance method used by the Chinese government. 

This example from China shows us just how sensitive data is and demonstrates that it should not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. So, before you learn to rely on any new gadget, be sure you pay close attention to cybersecurity recommendations.

Security is becoming an increasingly important issue

Regardless of how technology will develop in future and what software and gadgets lie in store for us, data security will continue to be just as important as it is now. Tech companies are trying to guarantee the utmost security with features such as fingerprint scanning, iris scanning and speech recognition – in other words, security using our own unique DNA. This will certainly protect the devices we use, but in order to be completely protected against cyberthreats, it is important to be vigilant online and to be wary of spam, phishing and online scams. By doing so, you will avoid falling victim to Internet fraud, such as scammers trying to access your e-banking details through phishing e-mails. Cybersecurity is a top priority for PostFinance. Our critical infrastructures are designed to issue warnings right away in response to even the slightest risk of fraud. But if you do still suffer a Trojan Horse attack or computer virus, PostFinance will cover damages of up to CHF 100,000.

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