Rising to a unique and unexpected challenge: Keeping mobile app users safe and protected during the COVID-19 pandemic

In a time of the global outbreak, it’s important not only to keep ourselves and our clients safe from the virus, but also to keep our networks safe from criminals looking to exploit this unprecedented situation — all the while enabling undisrupted usage of the apps we rely on daily.

Things we took for granted only a short while ago now seem like a dream: to freely go out whenever we want and enjoy fresh air, go shopping, see a movie in a cinema, or get a good meal at a restaurant. We’ve been living with the new normal of the coronavirus outbreak for weeks — and in some parts of the world, for months.

Working remotely is where it’s at

For most of us, life in the time of coronavirus means being mindful of exposure risks and adopting safer habits. At the very least, we’re staying home nearly all the time, working remotely and going out only when it’s absolutely necessary.

All of this means more time online, more time with our mobile devices, and more time using apps for work and fun — whether it’s paying bills via mBanking apps, shopping online, ordering food delivery, or playing games.

Biometrics doesn’t cut it

We’re washing our hands like our lives depended on it. And when we do venture outside for groceries, to go to the pharmacy, or for work, if we can’t work remotely, safety measures usually include wearing gloves and face masks.

This makes using mobile devices more complicated than usual… especially if you rely on biometrics for authentication.

Fingerprint scanning doesn’t work with gloves, and you can’t just remove them whenever you want to access your phone or authorize a transaction.

The same goes for facial ID, which simply doesn’t work through a mask, and removing your mask every time you need to access your phone or authorize a transaction defeats the purpose of that mask and puts you at risk.

Business as usual for criminals

During large-scale global disruptions like the COVID-19 outbreak, criminals do not sit idly. They seek to profit from widespread misfortune by using the panic to their advantage. Most commonly this involves phishing attacks to access banking accounts or to get their hands on passwords.

This is going on all around us, as invisible as the virus itself. Criminals pretending to be the World Health Organization have started intensive phishing campaigns. At the same time, black hat hackers are distributing COVID-19 hacking kits on the dark web.

How to stay safe offline and online

Our first instinct might be to go back to SMS OTP or even to rely solely on passwords. But with passwords being vulnerable to hacking, this is not a step in the right direction.

Now is the time for mobile network operators and service providers to step in and work hand-in-hand with IPification to make sure we can protect users not only from the virus, but also from criminals looking to exploit the situation.

When IPification GMID-BOX technology is integrated with MNOs’ networks, service providers will not only enable our unique Passwordless Authentication, but at the same time protect their users and improve UX.

Service providers can also start using smoot-UX Secure Direct Carrier Billing Authentication and integrate our fraud prevention products to safeguard users from SIM swapping and other types of attacks.

Working together, we can keep our networks safe during these challenging times — in all situations when we need to securely authenticate ourselves to use various apps for work and personal needs, as well as when we rely on our apps on the go but are also using equipment that keeps us safe from the virus.

If you share our vision, get in touch and let’s make sure our society stays safe.

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