Cybersecurity on Mobile payments has made dramatic changes to the way consumers pay for goods and services.
The shift from cash to mobile payments was spurred partly by the COVID-19 pandemic. The difficulty of having cash on hand during the peak of social distancing guidelines in 2020 pushed consumers toward mobile payment platforms. Over time, consumers began to rely on the ease and convenience afforded by these platforms.
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It’s now easier to transfer money from one person to another, as well as pay for things online. Mobile payment firms have benefited greatly from these developments; however, the popularity of such platforms makes them a prime target for cybercriminals.
Cybersecurity will play a huge role in the future of mobile payments. As mobile payments rapidly become the norm in different areas of the globe, cybercriminals will focus their energy on finding vulnerabilities in mobile payment platforms.
In this article, we discuss the emerging challenges posed by cybercrime on mobile payment platforms and how cybersecurity figures into the equation.
Why are Mobile Payment Platforms So Popular?
The boom of mobile payment platforms is unsurprising. In addition to the pandemic ramping up the difficulty of making ATM runs for cash, mobile payments are simply much better in the eyes of consumers.
The virtues of mobile payments, especially for consumers, are clear. Simply put, mobile payments improve customer experience on all fronts. They are easy to use, they travel with you, and they are perfect for making several micropayments throughout the day—no more worrying about exact change.
Naturally, cybercriminals know all about these perks and target mobile payment platforms for that reason.
The Cybersecurity Challenges Facing the Mobile Payment Industry
Mobile payments have taken over an increasing number of sectors, both online and offline—and cybercriminals are well aware of this trend. This means they will put more energy into finding ways to tap into mobile payment platforms, which will then allow them to steal money, private information, and even customer identities.
In Singapore, where contactless payment methods are swiftly becoming the norm, the number of e-commerce scams rose by 73.8% in the first half of 2020—a sharp spike from the same period in 2019.
Far from being just a concern for individuals, mobile payment platforms are also targeted by cybercriminals to steal data from businesses and vital public systems, such as healthcare. HIPAA compliant platforms, whether for communication or payment, are especially fertile ground for cyberattacks due to the amount of sensitive data that is shared through them.
How Cybersecurity Fits Into the Picture
Fighting fraud and suspicious transactions is an important part of the mobile payment landscape.
To secure their data and protect consumer identities, mobile payment platforms must be vigilant about securing their customer information and investigating suspicious activity on accounts and devices.
Some platforms are beginning to implement AI and machine learning to detect and flag suspicious transactions. As the technology for this kind of transaction analysis improves, banks will be able to more easily and automatically spot issues such as money laundering schemes and credit card fraud—a huge bonus for both customers and businesses alike.
Developing an industry-wide set of cybersecurity standards can also help.
Credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard implemented their own standards in 2006. Called the Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, the standards were meant to reduce credit card fraud and safeguard consumer information.
There is yet to be a definitive cybersecurity standard for mobile payments. However, the industry is slowly moving towards one as more consumer payments migrate online.
Presently, each mobile payment platform has its own set of standards and requirements for data security. In such an environment, mobile payment platforms are largely unregulated for cybersecurity issues, aside from data privacy and safety laws in certain countries.
The Future of Cybersecurity in Mobile Payment Platforms
Cybercriminals are intent on wreaking havoc through mobile payment platforms.
As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated and tech evolves, we will see a corresponding evolution on the part of mobile payment platforms—which means the wider use of currently advanced security measures such as digital signatures, end-to-end encryption, and AI-powered tools to root out fraudulent activities and suspicious transactions.
Currently, mobile payment companies are not required to comply with any specific cybersecurity standards when it comes to their platforms. This means that the onus is on these companies to make sure their customers’ data is protected at all times. They must hire their own cybersecurity experts to ensure that their platform is free from security vulnerabilities, and they must also look into developing new technologies to improve data protection.
Implementing the best practices for cybersecurity can be a hard sell to everyday users. Consumers continue to bristle at platforms that enforce stringent measures to bolster their cybersecurity.
Of course, this is no reason to give up. Remember how mobile payment platforms used to be a niche thing just two or three years ago? With mobile payments becoming more commonplace, it won’t be long before consumers learn about the importance of cybersecurity and demand stricter measures to protect their data from cybercriminals.
As the potential of mobile payments grows in the next few years, cybercriminals will continue to target mobile payment platforms. At the same time, cybersecurity professionals will chase them down. While the mobile payment industry is expected to face numerous challenges down the line, the future of mobile payment platforms remains bright as long as cybersecurity is a top priority.