All stakeholders, including the government, need to work together to build a stable, secure, and future-proof payments ecosystem: survey

In a July 2021 survey of 1,618 digital payment users aged 18 to 65 across key territories in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, a positive correlation emerged between the adoption of digital payment methods and the awareness of the risks and threats associated with them.

Around 97% of all respondents in South-east Asia were aware of at least one type of threat against e-payment platforms, while 72% had personally encountered at least one type of threat associated with this technology.

Other findings include:

  • 37% of respondents had encountered social engineering scams via texts or calls, 27% via fake websites, 27% via fake offers and deals, and 25% via phishing scams
  • In SEA, social engineering scams were the top encountered threat for Indonesia (40%), Malaysia (45%), the Philippines (42%), Singapore (32%), and Vietnam (38%). For Thailand, the top encountered risk was fake websites (31%). Overall, social engineering scams, fake websites, and fake offers and deals were among the most commonly encountered threats, with a large percentage of awareness at 72%, 75% and 64% respectively.
  • The financial impact of cyber incidents involving digital payments was mostly capped: from less than US$100 to US$5,000, with a very small proportion of respondents reporting a loss of more than US$5,000.
  • 52% of respondents who had lost money in digital payments pointed to bank account and credit card fraud. Within this group, 23% lost less than US$100; 13% lost between US$101 and US$500; 48% did not lose any money from digital payment threats.
  • In SEA, the top five threats resulting in financial loss were data breach (47%), fake and fraudulent apps (45%), ransomware (45%), and fake offers and deals (43%).
  • After encountering a cyber incident, 67% of respondents from the region indicated that they had become more vigilant. Also, 32% indicated they were anxious about recovering their lost money.
  • 36% of respondents who had been victimized indicated they still trusted that the bank and mobile wallet provider would resolve the issue, but 18% indicated they had less trust in digital payment providers.
  • 30% of the victimized respondents blamed themselves, while 12% indicated that they became involved in misunderstandings with a spouse, family member and friends because of the incident.
  • Regarding the 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 firm involved, while 45% informed their family members and friends about the incident. Also 26% indicated that they installed security solutions on infected devices, while 26% indicated they did so whether or not their devices were infected. Finally, 15% chose to start afresh with a new mobile wallet and created a new account.
  • The data indicates that more exposure to cyber threats directly correlates to a higher level of awareness. Also, increased awareness could be attributed to the volume of media coverage about cybersecurity incidents, and the combined efforts of governments and private sectors in boosting security awareness amidst the rise of mobile banking and e-wallet adoption in the region. At the same time, the impact of a cyber threat when it comes to digital payments does not just impose a financial burden on consumers, but also affects them from a psychological perspective.

According to Sandra Lee, Managing Director (Asia Pacific), Kaspersky, which commissioned the survey: “If we are to fully realize 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.”