5 habits of smartphone users that make life easy for hackers, warns HDFC Bank

HDFC Bank has issued a new cybersecurity advisory to its customers specifically highlighting security tips that smartphone users must consider while using the HDFC mobile banking app and which may extend to mobile banking app users of other banks as well. This new cybersecurity advisory goes beyond highlighting the importance of protecting passwords, downloading banking apps from verified sources and raising awareness about phishing scams. HDFC Bank talked about a few common ‘bad habits’ of smartphone users that make it easy for them to fall prey to hacking attempts and scams. If you are doing the following then you need to be more careful with your smartphone. 

5 Smartphone Habits That You Need To Change For The Better

 

1. Keeping Bluetooth turned on always, especially in public places

Most smartphone users do not pay attention to Bluetooth connectivity on their smartphones. With TWS earbuds making life easy, smartphone users tend to keep Bluetooth turned on always. Bluetooth is proven to be an active vulnerable point of access in smartphones. While you may be thinking that you are in control as every external device needs to be paired manually, what most people tend to forget is that an active and idle Bluetooth helps hackers know what devices your smartphone may have paired with before and hackers can then launch a spoofing attack to get access to your smartphone. 

2. ‘Force closing’ banking apps on smartphones

Smartphone users mostly think that simply forcing closing any app automatically logs them out of the platform. But this is not true for every app. For banking apps, especially, always logout and only when the log-out screen is visible then proceed to close the app. If you don’t do this, the banking app may stay logged in for a brief period and can pose a risk if your device is compromised or in the wrong hands. 

3. Using public WiFi to log into mobile banking apps, especially during vacations 

If you are travelling abroad and if you are using public WiFi to stay connected then never log into your mobile banking app. This includes hotel WiFi connections as well. Public WiFi networks are risky as hackers use them as their playground to target victims. In case you are forced to use a public WiFi connection, always use VPN apps for protection. Ideally, you should always use mobile data or your trusted home WiFi network to connect to mobile banking apps. 

4. Not uninstalling banking apps before handing over your smartphone to strangers

If you have to hand over your smartphone to anyone then always uninstall your mobile banking apps first before doing so. Of course, it may sound like a tedious process to install and activate mobile banking again but this is what will keep you secured. If you have to get your smartphone repaired, then uninstall all important apps including banking apps before you hit the factory reset button. 

5. Use the same PIN/Password for all apps, including the lock screen

If you use the same password/PIN for your lock screen and all apps including mobile banking apps on your smartphone then you need to stop doing so. If one password unlocks every app and the smartphone then you are simply making it easy for hackers. It is highly recommended that you pay attention to securing mobile banking apps by having unique passwords. Also, change these passwords periodically. 

Apart from these 5 pointers, the HDFC Bank advisory also alerted users not to share PINs, or passwords with anyone, download APK files from emails or WhatsApp along with other general tips. 

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