CIO Talk

Securing your Digital Payments

By Sanjai Gangadharan, Regional Director SAARC, A10 Networks

India is currently going through a demonetization drive where the citizens are moving towards a cashless economy.  While in other countries it is nothing new,  we here in India are really feeling the pressure to go cashless and embrace digital payment technologies.

Demonetisation Steers India Towards Digital Payments

The Indian government announced what it called “Demonetisation,” which makes all 500- and 1,000-rupee currency notes invalid. It was a move by the government to modernise commerce and move to a cashless economy.

The Indian economy has been primarily cash-based. A Google India and Boston Consulting Group study found roughly 75 percent of monetary transactions in India are made in cash, while cash is used in only about a quarter of transactions in countries like the US, Japan, France and Germany. The invalidation of the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes has sparked a surge in digital payments across India. For example, ICICI Bank has seen debit card transactions double, while credit card transactions have swelled by 40 per cent.

At the same time, use of e-wallet services like Paytm, MobiKwik and Oxigen grew 271 per cent, with market leader Paytm boasting an increase in transactions of more than 300 per cent.

The demonetisation of India is also prompting citizens to examine using Bitcoins. Bitcoins require users to share bank account details and undergo a “know your customer” process to start leveraging the online currency. India’s leading Bitcoin company, Unocoin, has said its average number of daily website visitors has spiked    since the initative was announced.

As the digital payment revolution chugs along, Indian citizens are concerned about the security of these platforms, as a rapid surge in their use could be an enticing target for threat actors.

Tips for a Secure Cashless Economy

As with most online conveniences, digital payment platforms are safe when they are properly secured. With that in mind, A10 Networks wanted to offer some best practices to ensure your payment options stay safe, and your money stays out of the hands of cyber criminals.

  • Consumers should always choose a service that offers two-factor authentication to access your online and digital financial information. Adding in this extra step beyond a simple username and password will make it harder for threat actors to gain entry to your accounts. If the app doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, strongly consider using another service.
  • Online payment application providers must encourage strong password use by customers.
  • If available, use biometric security measures, such as finger-print identification. This will help ensure that only you can access your money and user your device or application for payment.
  • Providers should Consider token-based authentication to better keep data and information hidden.
  • Be diligent about device safety and security. If you’re using your device to pay, ensuring that device is secure is imperative. Exercise caution when surfing the web on your device by not clicking on suspicious websites or opening emails that could contain phishing attacks.
  • Do not respond to emails and phone calls with personal financial details to emails or calls from your financial institution Providers must also ensure they protect their networks from the threat of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, to prevent their payment services being knocked offline by a massive attack.
  • Most payment gateways encrypt their traffic. While encryption is intended to secure data, threats actors are increasingly hiding malicious content in encrypted traffic in order to bypass security controls. Providers should ensure that they inspect the encrypted traffic in their network.

Those are just a few security best practices to pay attention to when navigating towards this new cashless, digital economy.

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