A 2022 survey by Experian has revealed that one in four consumers in the Asia Pacific region have been victims of online fraud. With fraudsters continually evolving their methods of attack, businesses and consumers need to work together to keep online transactions secure. In International Fraud Awareness Week, Duncan Taylor, Infinity’s compliance officer, takes a look at how individuals are inadvertently exposing themselves to cybercriminality and potential fraud.
Infinity takes cybercrime incredibly seriously, as any self-respecting financial services company should. I am constantly revising and reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure that we are keeping the personal information of our clients as safe as it can possibly be.
But maintaining a safe and secure online experience is a shared responsibility between us and our clients. Consumers also need to be aware of the risks they face online and practice good cyber hygiene.
These are the most common security mistakes that many of us make that could unnecessarily open doors for cybercriminals.
1. Using public wifi
Public wifi is not safe and using it leaves you vulnerable to cyber attackers who could easily access your logins and credit card information. Even checking a bank balance on free wifi could facilitate a security breach so if you must check financial information or make online purchases while out and about, it’s preferable to use your cellular data network. However, it is far safer to wait until you get home.
2. Not keeping device software up to date
Software updates often contain patches for security flaws. Installing updates as and when they are released gives you the best possible protection against vulnerabilities.
3. Using the same password for multiple accounts
With passwords required for just about everything online, it can be tempting to use the same one for all your accounts. Don’t! That single password is the equivalent of handing a thief a key that opens your home, office, car, safe and bank accounts. Even though it makes life more difficult, create a different password for each login.
There are numerous tools available to help you manage passwords. Many browsers have a built-in system, as does some anti-virus software. Alternatively, check out this overview of the best password management systems.
A reminder of what makes a strong password:
- More than ten total characters
- A mix of upper and lower-case letters
- One or more numbers
- One or more special characters
4. Saving payment information
Do you have any idea how many retailers have your credit card details saved? Every single one of them is a potential entry point for cybercriminals to get hold of your credit or debit card numbers.
Sometimes it is worth sacrificing convenience for security. Cyber experts recommend checking out as a guest wherever possible and not clicking on the save credit card information option.
5. Skipping two-step authentication
If you are offered two-step authentication for any financial transactions, take it. It’s obvious that having an extra layer of security to fall back on if accounts are compromised will diminish your chances of falling victim to a cybercrime.
6. Opening email attachments
It’s best to adopt a guilty-until-proven-innocent policy when it comes to email attachments. Malware is a cyber scourge that can create havoc if it succeeds in infiltrating a device. It can enable criminals to steal data such as passwords and logins, take control of your device, install ransomware or facilitate attacks on devices belonging to others. If you don’t know what an email attachment is, don’t click on it.
In the wild west that is the digital world, we all need to remain vigilant, maintain impeccable cyber hygiene and deter fraud as much as we can. What can you do today to improve your online security?
A leading provider of expat financial services and wealth management services across Asia.