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Although online platforms that accommodate financial transactions provide convenience and seamlessness for doing business, there are cybersecurity threats that you must be aware of so that you can protect yourself at all times.

What do we mean by threats? Threats are possible malicious attempts that seek to unlawfully access data (your information or your company’s information), disrupt digital operations, or damage your information by compromising its integrity. Customers must be aware of the potential threats they may face, such as phishing, smishing, social engineering and spoofing.

However, while some people may have heard of these terms before, not everyone knows what they are and how they work. Therefore, here’s an explanation of what each one is and how hackers use them.

Phishing
One of the most popular attacks customers may face is phishing. Phishing attacks are done by email. They are specifically designed to trick the recipient into opening an email and carrying out an instruction, such as clicking a website link or downloading and opening an attachment. The unsuspecting user will then provide confidential information, for example, their credit card number/CVV (the last three digits on the back of the credit card) or login credentials. The goal of a phishing attack is to steal data or to install malware on your mobile device or home or office computer.

Smishing
Smishing (also known as SMS phishing) is another common attack. These are compelling text messages that appear to come from a legitimate source or entity, such as a person or a company you may do business with, stating that you need to reset your online banking password by clicking the link to a website that has been included in the text message. This is normally a spoofed website aimed at capturing your user credentials. If attackers are successful, then they can make unauthorised financial transactions from your account or profile.

Social engineering
This is another popular tactic used by attackers. This is where an attacker tries to trick you into divulging sensitive information by pretending to be a familiar person or service. Unlike conventional attacks which seek to exploit system vulnerabilities, social engineering exploit human weaknesses through manipulation.

Spoofing
Hackers who use this method will impersonate a legitimate website’s URL (the website address) with a website that looks and functions very similarly. When a user, like you, enters their login information, that information is stolen by the hacker(s) and used later to impersonate the user on the network.

As financial transactions increasingly move online, cyber threats have also risen. To protect yourself, you must remain aware of the potential threats and vigilant by taking all precautions. This will keep you safe and reduce the chance of your information ending up in the wrong hands.