Protecting Your Cell Phone “from a banking threat”

Kurt Knutsson has a Fox News article centered on protecting Android cell phones from malware that bypasses Android’s Restricted Setting Feature to steal, among other things, a user’s banking app PIN. It’s well worth reading and taking appropriate action, given that so many users have so many have banking (and other) access apps on their cells.


Knutsson missed, in his article, the larger solution, or perhaps he deliberately elided it given how easy it is to use a cell phone—Android or other—to do things besides make and receive telephone calls or to exchange text messages.

What he missed is that that convenience comes with a very large cost, and that it’s an unavoidable cost given the ubiquitous presence of thieves in the world, including the virtual world of the Internet. The unavoidability of that cost stems directly from the fact that the contest between security and hacking past security is a permanent arms race in which security is, of necessity, reactive and not proactive. The hackers always have the first-user advantage, and that advantage lasts until security catches up—a gap that may be short or long but is always present.

The solution the Knutsson missed? Don’t have those banking (and other) access apps on your cell in the first place. At least, don’t go beyond social media apps—Facebook, Instagram, et al. (as if these are must haves)—at all. What’s not on a cell phone cannot be hacked by a cell phone hacker.

It’s certainly true that a laptop or PC is subject to the same vulnerabilities, but there’s no reason to extend and expand the reach of those vulnerabilities.

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