According to the Kaspersky Digital Payment survey, 18% of respondents from the Middle East experienced financial losses associated with threats when using online banking and mobile wallet services. The majority of users (92%) lost up to USD $1,000 as a result of these incidents, while (8%) of the respondents reported a loss of more than USD $1,000.
According to Kaspersky Security Network, more than 1.8 million [BEA1] financial threats were blocked in the Middle East [AF2] by the company, 256,708 of them in the United Arab Emirates. These attacks were aimed at stealing financial information such as credit card numbers and login credentials and usually rely on social engineering tactics to lure victims
However, the impact of a cyber threat targeting digital payments does not just impose a financial burden on consumers, but also affects them psychologically. For example, 62%[AS3] of respondents [AF4] said that they lost sleep and were very anxious about getting their money back. The same number[AF5] of users reported that their trust in digital payment providers have become lesser. 60%[AS6] [AF7] also stated that they became more vigilant after experiencing a cyber incident, and 73%[AS8] [AF9] installed security solutions like an antivirus on their infected devices.
A spokesperson from Lulu Exchange’s IT team, said, “Digital payments are the backbone of modern commerce, and have come to become a prime target for cyber threats. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders, including various service providers and customers, to remain vigilant and take proactive measures against security threats. From an organizational perspective, building a strong cyber governance framework is one of the surest ways to operate securely, responsibly, and ethically while safeguarding the trust of customers and stakeholders.”
“Since the beginning of the pandemic 53% [AS10] of users in the Middle East [AF11] faced at least one incident when using digital payments. That’s why it’s increasingly important to know how to interact securely with any emerging technologies, including online banking and mobile wallet services. And all stakeholders, like government, digital payment providers, users and even cybersecurity companies need to come together to create a sustainable and secure payment ecosystem”, said Emad Haffar, Head of technical experts at Kaspersky.
To help users [AS12] in the United Arab Emirates embrace digital payment technologies securely, Kaspersky experts suggest the following:
· Do not share your PIN, password or any other financial information with anyone online or offline.
· Avoid using the public Wi-Fi to make any online transactions.
· Use a separate credit or debit card to make online transactions. Set a spending limit on the card which can help keep a track of financial transactions.
· Shop from trusted and official websites
· Use reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Premium on all your devices which are used for financial transactions. It helps to detect fraudulent or suspicious activity and check the security of visited websites.
For developers, banks and companies involved in providing digital payment services, Kaspersky recommends:
· Invest in holistic cybersecurity solutions that can help detect fraud across multiple levels of online payment processes and consumer touchpoint.
· Complex attacks by APT groups on financial institutions are also on a rise. In-depth visibility and threat intelligence are a necessity to keep customers protected and to ensure business continuity. Using the Kaspersky Threat Intelligence service is helpful to support your IT teams in analysing and mitigating threats.
· Conduct cyber awareness training for employees continuously. This will help employees know the red flags to look for when an organization is under attack and to understand their role in protecting the organization.
The Kaspersky Digital Payment survey studies our interactions with online payments. It also examines our attitudes towards them, which hold the key to understanding the factors that will further drive or stem the adoption of this technology.
The study was conducted by research agency Toluna across the Middle East, Turkiye, South Africa, and Nigeria. Survey responses were gathered in 2022 with a total of 2,004 respondents surveyed across the stated countries.