In the age of mobile banking one must protect their personal information more than ever. With increased freedom to carry online banking activities anytime and anywhere including on a laptop, desktop computer, tablet or smartphone, so comes an increase in the need to protect online privacy.

We’re fortunate that a bank deposit, withdrawal, account transfer, balance inquiry, and even the ability to scan and transfer checks can be made from the privacy of your home at 10 PM, from an airport while traveling, or from a café via a simple SMS text with your bank or an automated command using a mobile application. However, there are still plenty of dangers to mobile banking and one is still held responsible for their own protection from threats like device loss, phishing, malware/viruses, spyware programs, and even financial fraud.

When managing mobile banking transactions, here are the five most common threats you need to protect yourself from:

1. Malware

Malware is like an online terror attack, but one that monopolizes your private banking information. It can invade your mobile devices as easy as unknowingly installing a program through an auto-run application. You see, the point of malware is to give an outside attacker full remote access to your device and your personal information (i.e., banking information like usernames and passwords). Once the outside threat gets inside your device, they can remotely access your financial accounts and drain your bank account.

2. Spyware

The dreaded spyware program is similar to malware. However, the difference exists in what the attacker is after. Instead of full remote access to whatever is on your device, in the case of spyware, the attacker is after specific bits of information (i.e., usernames, passwords or credit card numbers). For example, the next time you make mobile payments via your smart phone, the attacker is lurking and hoping to get access to your personal banking account numbers and passwords.

3. Stolen mobile devices

A stolen or lost smartphone, laptop, or tablet puts the owner in serious danger—especially if you don’t have your device or the data within protected by a secure password. If the device isn’t secure, once it’s stolen the thief can easily gain access to secure financial details—such as your ATM personal identification number, bank account codes, and passwords. The best thing you can do to protect yourself in this case is to set phone or tablet to automatically lock when not in use, and use a unique password to unlock it.

4. Phishing

Phishing comes to you in the form of fake applications from a malicious third party—such as emails and SMS text that look innocent, but are actually destructive software or viruses trying to comb your computer’s sensitive data (i.e., email and banking passwords). That’s why you should always question the credibility of online forms that request personal information (i.e., credit card details). Instead, whenever an outside sources requests sensitive information online or directs you to an unknown website, protect yourself by confirming their identity before proceeding.

5. Online fraud

Typically sent to you in the form of an email from your official banking institution, online fraud is meant to bait you into giving away personal information. For example, an email from your bank alerting you to a hack and asking you to click a link back to a fraudulent website will often allow fraudsters to remotely access your mobile system and record your keystrokes. It may not occur right away, but when you do enter a banking password, the external source will have recorded access to it. To protect yourself, know that text messages and emails are often not secure and be careful what you share and click on in the online environment.

About The Author: Pearlie Davis is a staff writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, and reviews on popular mobile devices and industry news.