Over the past few centuries, cash transactions have been the only means of payment. Now a lot has changed, and the volume of online transactions is rising. As it is the most convenient and cheapest payment method. In 2022, the European Central Bank estimated that online transactions would surpass 40% of all transactions in the EU.
However, cyber-attacks and fraud are significant threats to the proliferation of digital transactions. Cyberattacks can happen from the user side, or through bad practices, website owners can compromise your private data or the transaction. There are many threats to your online transactions.
Common Cybersecurity Threats
1. Financial Loss and Fraud
The most dreadful risk due to cybersecurity compromise is financial fraud or loss. Financial fraud may take different forms. It often involves malicious actors taking over user accounts, making illegitimate purchases, and stealing cash and payment data. The stolen info will be for committing fraud or sold in the black market. Other cyber security threats like Phishing, malware, and data breaches enable financial fraud.
Online businesses may not have sufficient infrastructure to identify genuine customers. As a result, stolen credit cards can be used to perform purchases that harm innocent customers. Some fraudsters may perform fake refunds to receive cash. They may ask for money from another card, and claim the card is suspended. Types of financial fraud are unlimited, with scammers developing new ways.
2. Data Breaches
Almost half of the world has lost its data due to data breaches. Data branches happen when sensitive data is exposed to the wrong people. Data breaches entail data leaks, unintentional information disclosure, leakage, and spills.
Many large companies and institutions have suffered from these kinds of attacks. Some include Facebook, Yahoo, government sites, online sportsbooks, and casinos. Common causes of data breaches are:
- Human error: Employees may accidentally misconfigure a system or open an infected attachment that opens the door to a data breach
- Hacking: Malicious persons may use malware and social engineering to obtain confidential information
- Physical theft: Sensitive data can be stolen from a physical location, such as a laptop or server, that is not adequately secured.
- Insider threat: Rogue employees or contractors may intentionally access or steal data.
- Natural disaster: A natural disaster, such as a fire or flood, can damage systems and expose data.
Data breach issues are especially dangerous in vulnerable online transactions such as accommodation bookings, online banking and shopping, or online gambling sites. This can cause the loss of massive user data. Theft of financial and personal info is the most common. Thus, always make sure you sign up on legal sites with valid licenses. Also, make sure they use up-to-date SSL-encryption technology to protect your sensitive data.
Phishing is a social engineering attack that criminals exploit to steal vital user information through text messages and emails. Attackers usually send emails pretending to be a legitimate business and offer a fake link to enter login details. Once the user enters their details, they are compromised. Then the attacker uses the details on the legit site to steal money, make bets, shop, or perform any other transaction without the user’s permission.
Spam messages are common as they can be shared on text, social media, forums, blogs, emails, and the like. They often present offers that seem too good to be true to unsuspecting users. Spam texts can often have links to malicious sites that can threaten user data.
Malicious programs such as viruses, spyware, ransomware, and trojan horses compromise cybersecurity. Malware harms systems and cripples online transactions. This can be done by deleting critical information, adding junk, installing more malware, or encrypting systems and demanding pay.
6. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and Man-in-the-middle attacks
Have you ever visited your favorite website only to find it is down? Suppose the site has an up-to-date server, and everything is working fine. In that case, the disruption may result from a DDoS attack. This is where a malicious actor inundates a server with so many requests that it cannot operate. This leads to delays and losses since customers cannot get the service they deserve.
Using free wifi in cafes and at the airport places users at risk of a man-in-the-middle attack. This scheme involves hackers infiltrating the public network to access your devices and steal personal details such as browsing history and credit card information.
Protecting User Data
Beefing up cybersecurity is crucial for businesses that offer online services. Website owners should ensure user data is safe and free from all types of cyber attacks. The best way to protect systems and user data is to follow suitable cybersecurity protocols. Both users and employees should stick to the security measures. Here are some common ways to beef up security:
Adopt Better Security Measures
Comparing user history against new purchases can be a great way to ensure that customers are protected from different types of fraud, even when they have been victims of any of the above security threats. Some ways to bolster security are
- using stronger passwords
- adding 2FA
- encrypting websites with HTTPS and SSL protocols.
Better Cyber Security Practices
Consumers and employees of online services should use the latest patched software, avoid public wifi and weak passwords, and be skeptical of all phishing and spam emails. This can be the first step to ensuring that all data is safe.
Data Breach Response and Data Backup
Despite our best efforts, cyber attacks will always happen as hackers unveil new methods and exploits. Preparing for the attacks by backing up data, and using firewalls and antiviruses can help minimize damage. Also, resume normal operations within a short time. Testing systems for vulnerabilities can also be a great way to patch them and keep online transactions safe.