Cashless Ambitions, Proceed with Caution

By Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager South East Asia, Kaspersky Lab

Globally there is a growing movement towards becoming cashless societies. While these cashless ambitions offer numerous benefits, Kaspersky Lab suggests proceeding with caution, with an eye on tightening cybersecurity around the payment eco-system.

One fundamental aspect of becoming a cashless society via digitalization is the increased adoption of online and mobile channels that has been a boon for perpetrators of fraud, specifically cyber-fraud. According to Forrester, there has been a 62% increase in payment fraud since Oct 2015.

The increased touch points and the nature of those channels lends itself nicely to cyber fraud by masking and hijacking the identity of the mobile user. Consumers are demanding more seamless and hybrid experiences, like combining commerce with payment, payment with social etc. At the same time regulations are forcing some rule-leveling barriers and access to consumer data is becoming democratized. This democratization of access and information means there could more vulnerabilities through more players creating more opportunities for cyber security breaches.

For perspective, global payments are expected to exceed $2.3 trillion[1] by 2019, and each year, with non-cash payments accounting for an increasing share of this massive market. Cashless transactions are growing by 10%[2], and according to one source, are likely to represent over one million transactions every minute by 2020.

The increase is mainly driven by accelerated growth in developing markets such as Malaysia, primarily driven by digitization and alternate channels. Malaysia aims to be a cashless society by 2050 according to the National Transformational 2050 plan[3]. However, based on trends and adoptions rates, the nation could be a fully cashless society much earlier with the mushrooming of digital payment or E-payment platforms.

Digital payment or E-payment is where payments are made using payments instruments that provides cashless purchase for consumers such as mobile E-wallets, Internet banking, QR codes and online payments. Currently there are 34 e-money issuers in Malaysia, that have been licensed by Bank Negara Malaysia[4], and the number is expected to increase.

Although cards remain the dominant and fastest growing payment instrument, the landscape is poised for rapid change and market disruption. The growing adoption of mobile payments, particularly among millennials, combined with a rapid uptake in e-commerce “Card Not Present” (CNP) transactions, and the emergence of non-banking payment service providers (FinTech) are among the many factors causing turbulence and disintermediation in discrete parts of banking and the payments landscape.

In addition, E-payment speeds up the purchasing process in terms of speed, cost, reduced staffing for businesses, while for customers it can be as simple as a tap or scan of a mobile device. Plus, digital payments open up wide paths to online merchants, giving businesses that employ this technology a competitive edge in the market.

According to the Kaspersky Lab, 35 per cent of people now use their smartphone for online banking and 29 per cent for online payment systems, and these mobile-first consumers will increasingly be prime targets for fraud. Newer successful payment types will see more attack attempts as their profitability for attack increases like social engineering attacks, data  breaches, spear phishing, false barcodes and account takeovers.

Kaspersky Lab estimate that in 2018 more high-end APT malware for mobile will be discovered as the widespread penetration of e-payments has made the theft of electronic money a profitable business for criminals. The E-platform provides and merchants need technology that protects their clients from today’s threats and minimizes the costs linked to reimbursing stolen money.

According to a survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab, only 52% of financial companies and 46% of firms engaged in e-commerce believe they need to take enhanced measures to protect financial transactions. Even fewer companies in this sector provide protection for their customers’ devices.

So it happens historically that the endpoints are the weakest point of the transaction chains, thus, they’re also favourite targets for cybercriminals. The lack of attention from the businesses to such a vulnerable part is surprising.
The Kaspersky Fraud Prevention platform is notable in that it provides comprehensive protection of transactions not only from the bank’s side but on the user’s devices as well. It also includes intellectual services based on our many years of experience in the field of cybersecurity. This combination will help financial companies secure their money and, more importantly, their reputation.

Kaspersky Fraud Prevention is a possible solution that delivers comprehensive, multi-layered security for online and mobile transactions that have unique security technologies to enhance a mobile payment providers’ security and the security of their users.

The benefits provided by Kaspersky Fraud Prevention are complemented by a range of additional services that Kaspersky Lab offers to help E-platform providers improve their awareness of financial cyber-threats and how best to combat them while marching towards cashless society.

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