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Are Your Mobile Transactions Secure?

Security | Sep 7, 2023

Unsplash Christiann Koepke Mobile payment - Are Your Mobile Transactions Secure?

Image: Unsplash/Christiann Koepke

With more Canadians, especially the Gen Z demographic, opting for smartphone payments over traditional credit cards, the need for robust security measures has never been more paramount.

Mobile payments are not just a fleeting trend; they're here to stay. Recent survey results by Interac indicates a staggering 53% increase in debit mobile transactions in just one year. Furthermore, predictions suggest that in the near future, two-thirds of Canadians will find it commonplace to leave their homes without a physical wallet.

Crypto wallets and payments are on the rise too.  There are a plethora of choices to suit varied needs from Trustwallet to MetaMask (Ethereum), or Coinbase Wallet (good for beginners) to's wallet for connecting to the decentralized finance ecosystem.

Top Ways Hackers Try to Access Your Data

Here's a breakdown of the top 5 ways hackers can access your data and how you can shield yourself:

  1. Near Field Communication (NFC) Interception:
    • How Hackers Access: Many mobile wallets use NFC and tokenization to exchange information between your phone and the payment terminal. A hacker needs to be in close proximity to intercept this data.
    • Protection: Ensure your mobile wallet uses strong encryption. Only use wallets that generate a randomized sequence of numbers for each transaction, making it useless for hackers even if intercepted.
  2. Malicious Apps and Malware:
    • How Hackers Access: Downloading malicious apps can introduce malware that exploits vulnerabilities on your phone and steals your payment information.
    • Protection: Be judicious about the apps you install. Stick to trusted sources and avoid downloading unnecessary apps. Regularly update your phone's software to patch any security vulnerabilities.
  3. Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks:
    • How Hackers Access: Conducting transactions over unsecured Wi-Fi networks can expose your data to hackers lurking on the same network.
    • Protection: Always disconnect from unsecured Wi-Fi networks when making transactions. Use your mobile data or a trusted, secured network. Consider using a VPN service on iPhone or Android for an added layer of security.
  4. Phishing and Social Engineering Schemes:
    • How Hackers Access: Cybercriminals often use deceptive tactics to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card details.
    • Protection: Be wary of unsolicited messages or emails asking for personal information. Always verify the source before clicking on any links or downloading attachments. Educate yourself about common phishing tactics.
  5. Physical Access and Screen Snooping:
    • How Hackers Access: If your phone is stolen or lost without proper security measures, it can be a goldmine for hackers. Additionally, prying eyes can steal your password or pin as you enter it.
    • Protection: Always lock your phone with a strong password or biometric authentication. Be mindful of your surroundings and shield your screen when entering sensitive information.

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Best Practices and Precautions

For Fintech Innovators:

  • Digital Hygiene: Ensure that your mobile payment apps emphasize the importance of strong passwords and multifactor authentication.
  • Educate Users: Regularly update users about potential threats and how to avoid them. This could be in the form of in-app notifications or emails.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Implement real-time monitoring of transactions to detect and prevent any suspicious activities.

For Users:

  • Avoid Public Charging Stations: These can sometimes be used to upload malware onto your phone. Always use personal chargers or invest in secure cables that only allow power to enter your device.
  • Secure Wi-Fi Connections: Always ensure that your transactions are conducted over a secure network. If in doubt, switch to your wireless carrier's data.
  • Monitor Your Transactions: Regularly check your transaction history for any discrepancies. Many digital wallets offer real-time notifications for every transaction, enabling users to spot unauthorized activities instantly.

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In closing, never forget the mantra 'Not your keys, not your crypto'.   While the shift towards mobile transactions offers unparalleled convenience, it also brings forth new security challenges. By staying informed and adopting best practices, both fintech innovators and users can ensure that their transactions remain secure in this digital age.

NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Are Your Mobile Transactions Secure?The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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