In the wake of the demonetisation campaign, people are opting for cashless transactions for online banking, shopping, paying bills, booking tickets, etc. But, while this mode of payment may have brought some relief to the cash crunch in ATMs and banks, it has opened up new opportunities for cybercriminals. And you may ask why?
What are the potential risks of cashless, online transactions?
Attackers will release fake online payment apps in the market that can steal your personal and banking details like net banking login ID and passwords, credit/debit card numbers, etc.
Fake websites will be created. These will look exactly like your banking or shopping websites where any information you provide, will reach the attacker.
You may receive emails with links that claim to offer discounts if you purchase goods from certain websites. These emails could be fake and may redirect you to fraudulent or infected websites.
You may also receive SMSs or WhatsApp messages recommending you to download mobile apps for online payments. These could also be fake.
Free, insecure Wi-Fi networks may be created by attackers to trick unsuspecting users.
Tips for secure cashless transactions
- Download online payment apps only from official stores such as Google Play and Apple Store.
- Before you download any app, verify the publisher. The ‘Top Developer’ badge (in Google Play) is usually a good sign that the app is safe. Also, read its user reviews.
- More importantly, read the permissions that an app asks for. If you think, it is asking for more than what is required, then better avoid installing it.
- Never visit an online banking or shopping website by clicking a link received in an email or text message.
- Choose established and well-known websites to make your payments.
- Ensure there is two-factor authentication for your net banking or debit/card transactions. This means whenever you make a payment, you will be asked to authenticate yourself twice. For instance, while paying via net banking, you will enter you login ID and password and also an OTP (code sent to your registered mobile number) before you can make the final payment. So, even if an attacker manages to steal your net banking details, they won’t be able to go through with a fraudulent payment.
- Always choose a strong password for accounts on net banking or online payment apps. Ensure your password is at least 8 characters long, has uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. E.g., ‘Cool15is@King’
- Avoid making cashless transactions from public computers such as those in cyber cafes.
- Do not use free, insecure Wi-Fi networks for making online payments. Doing so may let an attacker steal your information.
- Install a multilayered antivirus solution with the below features: Blocking websites that are fake, fraudulent or infected. Blocking emails that carry malicious links or attachments. A secure browser for safe banking and shopping transactions.
- Install a mobile security app that:
- Blocks fake or malicious apps from getting installed on your phone.
Blocks access to fake and infected websites.
Lets you lock your apps (online payment apps such as PayTm) with a password to prevent any misuse.
If you think this post is helpful, share it with your friends and peers who are doing frequent cashless transactions to cope with the demonetisation campaign. Stay safe!
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