Scan set to secure mobile banking

Mobile banking users may need to perform a biometric scan when adjusting money transfer limits to increase security for mobile transactions.

Yos Kimsawas, head of payment systems at Thai Bankers’ Association (TBA), said the group has been working with the Bank of Thailand and other government and private organizations to update related security systems for financial transactions, especially mobile banking applications, because of the risk of cybercrime is escalating.

The TBA held talks with the central bank about a biometric scan requirement for mobile banking users when adjusting the remittance limit. The added security step is in addition to the existing personal identification number and one-time password requirements to change a transfer limit.

The requirement is expected to be enforced within two weeks of the official announcement by the central bank.

Mr Yos said the number of mobile banking fraud cases has increased as cyber risks have risen, particularly from fake mobile apps. Since the second half of last year, financial crime in the Thai market has started to expand. As of 2022, losses caused by fraud totaled 500 million baht.

Scammers employ certain tactics to access a phone’s accessibility service, which is embedded in a mobile phone’s operating system. Hackers then control the victim’s cellphone to remotely transfer money from the victim’s bank account, often when the phone is not in use, said Chatchawat Asawarakwong, chairman of the Thailand Banking Sector Computer Emergency Response Team, a group of financial institutions under the TBA.

Mobile phone users should not open unknown links or install unverified apps. They should also avoid using unsecured cellphones to make financial transactions, Mr Chatchawat said. Phone users should fully update their mobile banking software to increase security levels, he said.

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Mr Chatchawat said an upcoming technology crime prevention law should strengthen cybersecurity in Thailand.

The bill has been approved by the Cabinet and is expected to come into force soon. The law also addresses deposit account nominee fraud, another widespread problem for banks. This type of scam refers to scammers who open deposit accounts with nominees and then conduct illegal transactions for them.