Friday, May 3, 2013

Smartphone as bank account

In 2012 I made a presentation at our local security conference (South Florida ISSA Chapter) on smartphone security.  Part of what I presented was the trends I was seeing at the time, based on reports.  Some most people are aware of:  smartphones overtaking "feature phones", smartphones overtaking laptop/PCs in sales, etc.

Another trend I point out I think is not so well known, at least here in the "developed world".  That of smartphones becoming the first, maybe only computing device of people in the "developing world", but of also becoming for them the equivalent of a credit card or bank account (checking account).

I think for many of us in the developed world we expect people to have a bank account.  To have a checking account (with a check card) and a credit card or two (or more).  Even tho there are people in the developed world who DON'T have these.

But technology like smartphones ALSO allows for people in the developing world to leapfrog technology.  We in the developed world had to contend with first phones at home for decades before cellphones came along and then smartphones.  For people in the developing world, they are basically skipping over home phones and maybe even cellphones and going straight to either feature phones or smartphones.

THIS article shows how mobile phones have transformed Rwanda.  Now, its not clear how many of these are smartphones, but certainly the talk of applications on the phones is telling.

More so of some of the applications, like "mobile money".  This enables the phone owner to send and receive money using just their phone.  Their phone becomes their bank account, in many ways.  The implications are huge.

And I have to wonder about security? 

If credit cards are such as huge target for cybercriminals, what about this "mobile money"?

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