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Westpac’s warning about common but dangerous WiFi habit

·2-min read
Westpac logo in store, woman and man on phones in cafe.
This common mobile habit could land you in trouble, Westpac has warned. (Images: Getty).

Westpac customers will now receive real-time alerts about their potentially risky behaviours as the bank moves to crack down on security threats.

The bank’s new Trusted WiFi prompt means customers logging onto the mobile app via an unsecure network will be warned and advised to log on in a different way.

“With the majority of customers now choosing to conduct their banking tasks through their phone, Westpac has rolled out a new real-time detection feature to help ensure customers remain even more protected when managing their money,” chief digital officer Jason Hair told Yahoo Finance.

“The new technology helps detect if a customer is connected to an unsecure Wi-Fi network when they open the Westpac app, and prompts them to disconnect before proceeding with their banking tasks.”

The feature is part of the Westpac iPhone Mobile Banking app version 10.2.0.

The prompt will kick in if customers are attempting to log on to their banking app via publicly available WiFi connections, for example those in cafes, shopping centres or hotels.

As that network may be monitored or pose a possible security risk, customers will be “strongly recommended” to tap ‘cancel’ and exit out of their banking app, before logging back in while using their own - more secure - mobile data.

“This helps ensure the security of your personal information including passwords / security codes, as well as helping your accounts remain secure,” the bank explained.

Customers may also be prompted if they’re logging on using their workplace connection, as some employers also monitor WiFi usage.

In that situation, customers will be asked if they trust that WiFi. If they’re not sure, they’re recommended to change to their mobile data before attempting to do any online banking.

“This feature adds to an existing suite of robust security measures Westpac has in place that ensure the safety and security of customers when using our digital banking channels,” Hair said.

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Image: Yahoo Finance
Image: Yahoo Finance
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