KUALA LUMPUR – Cashless payment methods have reached an inflection point in Malaysia since the beginning of Movement Control Order (MCO) last year. International Data Corporation (IDC) attributes the surge to Malaysia’s accelerated digital economy development and Malaysian’s increased digital presence during the pandemic.
The local government is also playing a key role in encouraging consumers to adopt e-wallets through many initiatives, like the digital stimulus implemented by Khazanah Nasional Berhad in 2020 which benefited some 15 million Malaysians, estimated at RM450 million.
Mastercard Impact Study 2020 also revealed that the country is a frontrunner in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region’s mobile and digital wallet adoption, with a mobile wallet usage of 40%, ahead of other countries such as Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore.
Parallel to the increased usage of e-payment platforms is the uptick of risks. While most of the major e-wallet providers in Malaysia ensure that the transactions are safe on their apps, with the checks like two-factor authentication for ensuring secure transactions for consumers, activities of malicious actors online remains high.
“Cybercriminals have several tactics on their sleeves. For example, tricking consumers into downloading fake, legitimate-looking e-wallet apps, which actually are malware aiming to infect smartphones used for digital payments. They are constantly coming up with innovative tactics to compromise e-wallet platforms.
“And with the ongoing pandemic plus the festive season, we see more social engineering tricks like phishing and scams to trick the human mind,” says Chris Connell, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.
Data from Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) shows 103,573 mobile malware attempts were detected in Malaysia last 2020. Generally 99.9% of the mobile threats were targeted on Android, and less than 0.1% on iOS.
Kaspersky Mobile Malware Evolution 2020 report also noted that cybercriminals constantly monitor the situation in the world, collecting the most interesting topics for potential victims and then use these for infection or cheating consumer out of their money.
And the year 2020 gave cybercriminals a large number of powerful news topics, with COVID-19 as the biggest of these. AdWare led the mobile threats in 2020, with 57.26%, as compared to 21.81% in 2019. Kaspersky detected 156,710 mobile banking Trojans in 2020, twice the previous year.
Kaspersky has the following tips to help Malaysians harness securely the rising cashless technology during this Raya festive season:
- Be sure that your smartphone has the updated OS
- Consider having a solid cybersecurity app to be installed on your smartphone
- Verify the site or app that you will be using – check if they are legitimate and with strong encryption
- Always use a strong and unique password
- Implement two-factor authentication
- Download e-wallet or payment apps from official stores
- Be sure to be extra vigilant each time you make an online transaction