Over half of users in Middle East have faced online phishing scams, says survey

Respondents say they encountered them while using digital banking or mobile wallet services

by Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Fri 29 Jul 2022, 12:00 PM

More than half of the respondents in a pan-Middle East digital payment survey revealed they faced phishing scams when using online banking or mobile wallet services.

The survey also revealed that at least 49 per cent of the respondents have personally encountered fake websites, and 48 per cent have come across scams, via texts or calls, using social engineering.

According to a Digital Payment survey, commissioned by cyber security company Kaspersky, when respondents were asked about awareness of threats against digital payment methods, the majority said that they are aware of both financial phishing attacks (87 per cent) and online scams (87 per cent).

Moreover, 84 per cent also stated that they are informed about banking malware on PCs and on mobile, which steals money from users' bank accounts.

The Kaspersky Digital Payment survey extensively studies interactions with online payments and examines internet users' attitudes towards them. The study of 2,004 respondents was conducted by research agency Toluna across the Middle East, Turkey, South Africa, and Nigeria early this year, said Emad Haffar, head of technical experts, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Kaspersky.

'Banks need to do more'

The survey also said at least 92 per cent believe banks and payment companies should educate users more about the threats online.

When it comes to a list of security features consumers would like to see more on existing banking apps and mobile wallets, here's what matters most to them:

  • The implementation of one-time-passwords (OTPs) via SMS for every transaction – 80 per cent
  • Biometric security features like facial or fingerprint recognition – 64 per cent
  • Requiring two-factor authentication – 53 per cent
  • Automated detection and intervention for fraudulent transactions – 54 per cent
  • Point-to-point encryption -27 per cent

"Whether we talk about the proliferation of phishing scams or mobile malware, it is important to establish some basic cybersecurity standards," explained Haffar.

He said, "Advanced security solutions, which are able to filter out most of the generic attack vectors, supplemented with other preventive measures such as good cybersecurity awareness and regular password changes, can help to keep your financial transactions secure."


Here are some tips to keep your data safe:

  • Do not share your PIN, password or any other financial information with anyone online or offline.
  • Avoid using 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 solutions such as Kaspersky Total Security 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, the cyber security experts recommend:

  • Invest in holistic cybersecurity solutions that can help detect fraud across multiple levels of online payment processes and consumer touchpoints
  • Advanced attacks by APT groups on financial institutions are also on the rise. In-depth visibility and threat intelligence are a necessity to keep customers protected and to ensure business continuity
  • Conduct cyber awareness training for employees continuously. This will help employees know the red flags to look for when an organisation is under attack and understand their role in protecting the organisation.

- dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

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