Almost half (43%) of Internet users in South Africa believe traditional over-the-counter banking is safer than banking online, according to a survey by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.
Despite these fears most people still make some payments online but many fail to take even basic security measures, putting their money and banks’ reputations at risk.
One of the easiest ways for criminals to access online bank accounts is to pose as the account owner. This can be done by getting information about the account, setting up a phishing page where users unwittingly hand over their usernames and passwords, or by intercepting username and password data with a banking Trojan when users log on to their bank’s legitimate pages. Traditional computers and mobile devices are both vulnerable to these attacks.
The survey shows that a significant number of users (64%) feel vulnerable when making financial transactions online. In addition, just fewer than half (49%) reported they believe making payments offline is more reliable than online and 43% agreed that offline banking is the safer than online banking.
However, in spite of these fears, the majority of Internet users make online payments: 74% of those surveyed use their desktops or laptops for online payments, 22% locally use their tablets, 32% use their smartphones, and 14% of smart-TV owners admitted using their smart-TV for such operations. At the same time, according to the survey, 15% of users do nothing to protect their financial data online.
“If customers choose traditional over-the-counter banking, from fear of falling victim to Internet fraud, it will hamper the adoption of high-margin online and mobile payment systems,” says Ross Hogan, global head of the fraud prevention division at Kaspersky Lab. “This will force banks to invest more of their resources in low margin branches instead.
“Meanwhile, among those who have adopted online and mobile payments, there is a persistent security concern as they may be putting their money – and the bank’s reputation – at unnecessary risk. That is why today it is vital that banks invest in technology ensuring a secure banking environment for their customers. This approach will not only reassure customers who prefer in-branch banking that online and mobile banking is secure, it will also reduce the risk for careless customers, who might otherwise lose important financial data.”