Keeping online payments safe

Keeping online payments safe

Nearly 3 in 4 in Asean encountered at least one cyberthreat related to digital payment, according to Kaspersky

Kaspersky research shows a positive correlation between the adoption of digital payment methods and the awareness of related risks and threats in Southeast Asia.
Kaspersky research shows a positive correlation between the adoption of digital payment methods and the awareness of related risks and threats in Southeast Asia.

High public awareness of potential risks and threats associated with digital payment is leading to high levels of reporting of such threats, according to a recent study by Kaspersky.

Research by the multinational security provider shows a positive correlation between the adoption of digital payment methods and the awareness of related risks and threats in Southeast Asia.

Nearly all respondents in Southeast Asia (97%) were aware of at least one type of threat against e-payment platforms, while almost three in four (72%) have personally encountered at least one type of threat, said the report, titled "Mapping a secure path for the future of digital payments in APAC".

In many ways, this awareness could be attributed to the volume of media coverage about cybersecurity incidents, and the combined efforts of governments and businesses to raise security awareness amid the rise of mobile banking and e-wallet adoption.

Some 37% of respondents said they encountered social engineering scams via texts or calls. Other frequent threats were fake websites (27%), fake offers and deals (27%), and phishing scams (25%).

Remarkably, social engineering scams ware the top encountered threat for most Southeast Asia countries, including Indonesia (40%), Malaysia (45%), the Philippines (42%), Singapore (32%) and Vietnam (38%).

The only exception is Thailand, where the most frequently encountered risk was fake websites (31%).

The financial losses associated with these threats tended to range from less than US$100 to $5,000, with a very small proportion of respondents having reported incurring a loss of more than $5,000, according to Kaspersky.


Some 52% of respondents who encountered threats admitted they had lost money due to bank account and credit card fraud. In this group, 23% lost less than $100, 13% lost between $101 and $500, while 48% indicated that they did not lose any money.

Accounts hacked because of a data breach (47%), fake and fraudulent apps (45%), ransomware (45%), and fake offers and deals (43%) were other top threats resulting in financial loss in Southeast Asia.

After encountering a cyber-incident, more than two in three respondents (67%) said they had become more vigilant. More than a quarter (32%) were also anxious about recovering their lost money.

Consumers are also concerned about trustworthiness. Some 36% indicated they still trusted that their bank and mobile wallet provider would resolve the issue, but 18% said they had less trust in digital payment providers.

Over a quarter (30%) of the respondents blamed themselves for such mistake, while a small portion (12%) admitted they had become involved in a misunderstanding with spouse, family member and friends because of it.

"The adoption of digital payment methods appears to be a double-edged sword, with convenience representing the good benefits and cybersecurity risks being the less desirable aspect," said Sandra Lee, managing director for Asia-Pacific at Kaspersky.

"However, we believe that categorising digital payments in such binary ways is premature. As with any emerging technologies, there is no inherent good or bad characteristic to them; rather, how we use them to achieve beneficial outcomes is determined by how we interact with them.

"If we are to fully realise the benefits of digital payments, it is important that all stakeholders, including the government, digital payment providers, users, and even cybersecurity firms, work together to build a stable, secure, and future-proof payments ecosystem."

When it comes to action taken after encountering threats, 64% of respondents changed passwords and other security settings on their banking and mobile wallet apps, 50% called the bank or related mobile wallet company, while 45% informed family members and friends about the incident.


Cybersecurity protection attracted more attention from consumers once they came across threats.

Some 26% of consumers said they installed security solutions on infected devices, while the same percentage said they did so whether or not their devices were infected.

A fresh start is also an option -- 15% of respondents said they downloaded a new mobile wallet and created a new account simply to be safe.

To help digital payment users embrace technologies securely, Kaspersky experts suggest the following:


  • Beware of fake communications, and adopt a cautious stance when it comes to handing over sensitive information.
  • Do not readily share private or confidential information online, especially when it comes to requests for your financial information and payment details.
  • Use your own computer and internet connection when making payments online. You can never know if public computers have spyware running on them recording everything you type, or if your public internet connection has been intercepted by criminals.
  • Don't share your passwords, PIN codes or one-time passwords with family or friends. While it may seem convenient, these provide an entryway for cybercriminals to trick users into revealing personal information.
  • Adopt a holistic solution of security products and practical steps to minimise the risk of falling victim to threats and keeping your financial information safe.
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