Banks Underestimate the Need to Educate Africaís Mobile Bank Users

 

According to Thales SA, a global technology provider, African banks are underestimating the importance of educating the mobile bank users on mobile security and are, consequently exposing them to the growing security threats in the continent.

Of the nearly 500 million adults living in sub-Saharan Africa, 95% earn less than R80 a day and have no access to bank accounts. The extent of Africa’s unbanked is set to change as the region drives forward in the development of mobile banking, which has proved to be a thrivingventure as it fills a gap in the African financial services market. However, according to Llewellyn Hartnick, Cyber Security Specialist at Thales SA,as mobile banking develops and as more services and products are offered on mobile platforms, new opportunities for theft and fraud also increase. Hartnick believes that the general financial illiteracy of Africa’s mobile banking users has made human error the most overwhelming security risk for mobile banking in Africa.

“The growth rate of mobile banking in Africa is set to continue as Africa becomes digital. For example, more Africans have access to mobile phones than to clean drinking water. However, positive growth does come with increased risks as cyber criminals continue to improve their methods of attacking banking systems. Due to Africa’s limited infrastructure, the geographical remoteness of many communities and the financial illiteracy of most people on the continent, many do not know how to prevent falling prey to cyber-attacks,” says Hartnick.

Hartnick added that “computer-based Trojan applications are rapidly migrating to the smartphone market and the lack of access to information has created vulnerability within the continent’s mobile banking space. Banks need to be more aggressive and creative in educating its mobile banking users. Updates on safe mobile banking practices are vital, while the popularity for mobile financial services continues to grow. Other countries in Africa would be wise to look at Kenya’s MPESA example on how to, not only grow mobile banking, but to grow it in a manner that supports customer security.”

 

By Llewellyn Hartnick
Cyber Security Specialist at Thales SA

Source: TechnologyBanker

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