Do you frequently make online payments? Beware, security lapse may result into huge losses

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Updated: May 1, 2019 6:52:25 PM

The cases of cyber attacks are on the rise as India takes a quantum jump towards a cashless or less-cash society, especially after demonetisation.

online payments, cashless society, less-cash society, cyber attacks, Denial of Service, distributed denial of service, Phishing and spear phishing attacks, Advanced Persistent Threat, APT, Malware AttacksIn case of a cyber attack, the concerned bank’s local infrastructure gets compromised.

The cases of cyber attacks are on the rise as India takes a quantum jump towards a cashless or less-cash society, especially after demonetisation.

According to some recent data, there was a 330 per cent rise in UPI payments in 2018 over 2017, while about 388 per cent increase in mobile banking, about 244 per cent increase in mobile wallets and over 569 per cent increase in prepaid payment instruments (PPI) were recorded over the same period.

Although the growth rates in debit and credit card payments in 2018 were relatively steady over 2017 at 23.57 per cent and 27.91 per cent, respectively, but the instances of digital payment frauds – both online and card – are on the rise.

“There can be many types of cyber attacks. Mostly in the past, we have seen intrusive attacks, which have now turned into disruptive attacks. We are heading towards the unknown where the attacks are going to be more sophisticated and the effect of which can be destructive,” said Kiran Shetty, CEO & Regional Head – India & South Asia, SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).

“However, the known current major cyber attacks can be – (i) Denial of Service (Dos) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, (ii) Phishing and spear phishing attacks, (iii) Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), (iv) Malware Attacks (most common now) and many more,” he added.

In case of a cyber attack, the concerned bank’s local infrastructure gets compromised (e.g. in case of a malware attack). Typically malwares sit in the system and monitors activities within – which can include identifying users, stealing their credentials; looking at banks’ correspondent relationships – identifying activities, credit lines; operational hours and other critical information. Based on their study they plan and execute an attack, which can be monetary loss; loss of trust and reputation for a bank.

While major card industry stakeholders American Express, Discover, JCB International, MasterCard and Visa Inc set up PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) in 2006 to ensure safety of cardholder data across the globe, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) tightened its norms after more than $100 million was defrauded in 2016 from banks in Asia, Africa and South America to provide a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardised and reliable environment.

“Payment systems have to continuously evolve and stay ahead of cyber threats. SWIFT has used technical innovations to make payments safe, secure and consumer friendly. One such initiative that SWIFT has undertaken is Payment Controls Service wherein the banking community can control and limit payment behaviour that is a potential fraud risk or falls outside of business policy. Also, SWIFT Global Payments Innovation in cross-border payments dramatically improves the customer experience by improving the speed, transparency and end-to-end tracking of payments,” said Shetty.

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