India today has approximately 700 million mobile phone subscribers. Of these, 204.1 million are on smartphones. The use of mobile phones in India, and particularly smartphones is expected to grow 37%, from 204.1 million in 2016 to almost 280 million in 2018. This is due to their increasing affordability, the rapid deployment of 4G networks, and the launch of Reliance's 'Jio' operations. More and more banks in the country are porting their products and services to mobile platforms, applications, and the mobile internet, to make it convenient for clients to access them. Today, 154 banks in the country have been authorized to undertake mobile banking services by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank. Interestingly, mobile banking penetration in the country is greater than the global average of 40% at more than 50%.
While there has been rapid adoption of mobile banking and mobile wallets in the country in the recent years, important challenges appear to have emerged about security. In this report, we discuss the nature of the threats encountered due to the growing use of mobile devices in the country and the various ways in which the banks in India are preparing to deal with and respond to them. We also discuss the specifics of the mobile vulnerabilities, both in mobile banking and mobile wallets. In conclusion, we put forth a framework that banking institutions can use to evaluate the cybersecurity of their mobile banking and application operations.