How to Protect Mobile Banking from Remote Access Tools

October 19, 2023
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For banks and fintech companies with questions about protecting the finances of customers who use remote access tools on their mobile devices, we have answers.

Remote access tools allow users to access devices and networks from a remote location. These applications are often used as a straightforward method for IT professionals and technical specialists to provide clients with remote support.

Today’s leading remote access applications include Anydesk, Teamviewer, ConnectWise, and Zoho Assist. While their intentions are entirely legitimate, remote access tools have been targeted and misused by scammers — and as a result, the reputation of these tools has taken a hit.

It’s important to note that remote access tools themselves aren’t the ones at fault — conversely, they’re versatile tools that have significant security measures built into them. These include advanced encryption, customizable privacy settings to control who can access a device, and multi-factor authentication.

How Do Remote Access Attacks Happen?

Most remote access fraud scenarios begin in the same way: Scammers contact a victim and pretend to be from a legitimate company, whether it’s a support team concerned about a security breach or a salesperson from an investment company offering assistance with the speedy setup of a lucrative product. The scammer eventually convinces the customer to share access to their device using a remote access application.

Using these social engineering techniques, cybercriminals wrongfully gain full access to customers’ devices — this remains the most prominent security threat associated with remote access tools. These tactics can lead to several types of attacks, including:

  • Stealing OTP codes via SMS messages or authenticator apps, such as Google Authenticator. With full access to the customer’s device, fraudsters can easily obtain these code-based multi-factor authentication elements and gain access to various services.
  • Recording and replaying PIN codes: For applications without proper protection of their PIN keyboards, it’s easy to record the app’s PIN code. While capturing the PIN code is possible on both iOS and Android, replaying PIN codes on Android is also a straightforward operation. This is because many Android remote desktop apps have easy-to-install add-on modules that allow for complete remote control of a device. As a result, an attacker can actively close an app’s biometric authentication to enforce PIN code entry by the user. With the PIN code in hand and the device under their control, fraudsters can freely roam the customer’s account or confirm operations initiated via push notification.

How to Prevent Remote Access Attacks

If your business is looking to implement measures to secure your customers’ use of remote access tools, there are a few capabilities that should be at the core of your approach.

Reliable Authentication

By implementing a combination of factors that are difficult to compromise, banks can significantly reduce the risk of remote access attacks. Strong multi-factor authentication measures with contextual factors (such as the user's location or device) can determine whether access attempts are legitimate.

Furthermore, it’s wise to implement the use of biometric authentication, which incorporates the use of biometric factors like a fingerprint or facial recognition to provide the highest level of security without relying on easily shareable assets (like SMS-OTP codes). Wultra’s Mobile Token is a solution built especially for providing this level of robust authentication.

Comprehensive In-App Protection

Investing in holistic in-app protection allows banks to mitigate the risks of remote access attacks through the use of several main features. Firstly, the real-time monitoring of remote access tools makes it possible to detect and avert remote access attacks. When paired with additional security features including application analysis and the ability to blacklist any remote access applications with suspicious activity, in-app protection serves as a reliable method to safeguard against remote access attacks.

Moreover, in-app protection gives banks the ability to set up preventative measures when customers download a remote access tool, such as sending out automated push notifications to educate them on the risks and how to avoid falling prey to a remote access attack.

We’re proud to offer a comprehensive solution to banks that are looking to protect the finances of customers who use remote access tools: Our In-App Protection is designed for bolstering the security of banking and fintech applications and obtaining detailed information about device issues.

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