With new digital disruptors emerging, the marketplace for financial services has become more competitive. As a result, FIs have looked to attract and retain customers through online services—not least mobile apps—that provide a more customer-centric experience. However, cyberattacks have raised concerns among many customers who want assurances that their online and mobile app transactions are well protected.
GuardSquare, headquartered in Belgium, is an industry leader in mobile app protection. Like Intel, the company is working to improve information security. Intel, for example, has developed Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX), which provides protected enclaves of execution in memory. Likewise, Intel has developed Intel® Trust Execution Technology (Intel® TXT) that hardens platforms from emerging threats of hypervisor attacks.
GuardSquare specialises in developing software to safeguard mobile apps against reverse engineering and hacking. Its products—DexGuard for Android and iXGuard for iOS—are used across a broad range of industries, including financial services, which provides GuardSquare with more than 50 percent of its revenues. Recently, the company won recognition for its work—taking the 2017 Pitch360 FinTech award for Cyber Security at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London, sponsored by Intel.
Tackling the Challenges in Mobile-App Security
After the event, Rakels told of her experience of working with FIs on mobile app security. She says she’s seen FIs take one of two approaches to app security. Either they decide to address app security in-house or they work with FinTech’s such as GuardSquare, “FIs either don’t have the time or the resources to do the work themselves,” she points out.
She continues, “What we see is that some FIs have relatively few people working on app security. FIs want to do everything [develop the entire app including security] themselves, but they can’t do it given the limited resources.” Add to this the global shortage in security software engineers, Rakels believes “FinTech’s such as GuardSquare that have the best security specialists that can help.”
How to Address Security in an IoT-enabled World
Rakels warns that security will become an even bigger issue for FIs as the world becomes IoT-enabled. IoT will create an enormous footprint of connected devices, and therefore it will also create an enormous attack surface for hackers. Security must be built into those connected devices from the start so that every device is a trusted device and every connection a trusted connection. “Securing those connections will be a huge challenge,” says Rakels.
To establish an environment of trust, FIs will need to work with the broader ecosystem, argues Rakels, and will not be able to rely just on in-house teams. Indeed, FIs will need to work with multiple FinTech’s because no single FinTech will be able to “do everything”, she says. This, of course, creates challenges through the complexity of sourcing multiple FinTech’s and managing the resulting relationships.
Rakels believes that Intel could bring the ecosystem of FI’s and Fintech’s together to reduce the complexity of multiple relationships by curating platforms that feature multiple FinTech solutions.
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