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The payments industry is rife with security concerns, so it’s no secret that the threat of phishing scams could destroy your business. While nothing new, this has become a rapidly growing problem that threatens online payment processing companies daily.
And now, with recent ransomware attacks affecting hundreds of thousands of businesses, it’s critical that you exercise caution when opening attachments in your email.
Find out how phishing scams and email attacks are affecting businesses in record numbers through online payment processing solutions, and learn how you can stop fraudsters in their tracks by working with the right processor for your business.
The following post is courtesy of Payline blog.
Phishing Scams: Problematic for the Payments Industry
As if the payments industry doesn’t have enough security concerns to worry about, there is one more major problem that’s lurking in the dark: phishing scams. While not a new concept, this has become a rapidly growing problem that’s threatening online payment processing companies.
Because it’s becoming common practice today to receive unsolicited messages, emails and texts from businesses, financial institutions and even app companies, people have become accustomed to giving out personal data at the drop of a hat.
As we’ve learned from the influx of phishing scams, it’s easy to be duped by this technique. Fraudsters’ techniques have become so sophisticated that even IT experts are being tricked by phishing scams. That’s why businesses must think twice about the online payment processing companies with whom they work to ensure that they are protecting themselves and their customers from these threats.
Why the Payments Industry Should Worry
In an increasingly digital world, personal and business credentials are commonly linked to financial data. And because so many account and email passwords are connected to payments, it’s easy to see why phishing scams have created a new batch of security fears to keep leaders in the payments industry up at night.
Today, big data and access to that data has become the new form of currency. Giving away access to data through sneaky phishing scams can create a never-ending spiral of threats that make it hard to play catch up with.
What’s different about these types of scams is that they do a very good job of presenting themselves as legitimate offers or messages. Without the right spam filters, or security protocols in place to detect these types of hacks, the potential harm phishing scams could have on the payments industry is widespread — making it difficult to predict the full scope of the threats.
Where Online Payment Processing Comes Into the Mix
Obviously, anytime there is a scam that involves gaining access to personal credentials, sensitive data and payment information, the connection to online payment processing isn’t far behind. After all, the end-game of phishing scams is gaining access to financial accounts.
Because company leaders, and their customers, expect their payments to be protected — regardless of the situation — larger payment processing companies like Braintree or Stripe may find themselves with bigger targets on their back simply because they are well known organizations. In the case of phishing scams, hackers need to route their methods through companies that businesses and people recognize because of their name and connection to larger companies.
Typically, working with larger companies would suggest that you have better protection over your online payment processing — but the rapidly-growing phishing market has proven that the larger the company, the bigger chance exists for them to be a target for these types of scams.
How Do Phishing Scams Threaten Payments Security?
This question can be answered by digging deeper into how exactly phishing is done. Essentially, it involves an email or message sent to a person with the illusion that they are entering their details through a secure, trusted company. Because the message that appears to be legitimately sent from that particular company, people are quick to fill out the necessary information requested.
This is why online payment processing companies are working to safeguard their products more than ever from suspicious or fraudulent activity. The problem with phishing scams, however, is that they aren’t limited to one industry.
Many popular phishing scams purport to be from shipping companies, e-commerce companies, social networking websites, financial institutions, tax-preparation companies and some of the world’s most notable companies,” said Satnam Narang, a Norton by Symantec senior security response manager, in an interview with Fox News about this growing trend.
As for how it’s impacting payments? Narang explained that people will often get a message associated with a financial institution, or a popular online site and use a phrase like “important or secure message.” Because of that, consumers are more inclined to click on the link and provide the information necessary. That rhetoric also makes the person more opt to share information because they believe they are communicating with an organization they already trust.
Even major companies like Lowes have been caught in the middle of a major phishing scam recently with a coupon deal that’s tricking consumers into filling out personal information in order to get a $50-off coupon. Because consumers don’t often realize how much your financial data is linked to your personal credentials (email, passwords, etc), these scammers have been able to capitalize on the market.
But it isn’t just the consumer world falling victim to phishing scams; the business world is growing increasingly threatened by massive hacks targeting companies as well. In fact, a recent FBI report indicates that organizations have lost around $2.3 billion to CEO scam emails in the past three years alone. And the threats continue to rise each year.
In these cases, employees of companies are getting emails that appear to be from the CEO, prompting them to provide information. Because the hackers have become so good at masking the fact that the message wasn’t from the CEO, employees easily fall into the trap. Particularly if there is a link to financial credentials involved, these types of scams have the potential to impact a company’s bottom line.
Regardless of how, why or when phishing scams are infiltrating systems, businesses today need to be prepared to detect these types of threats, be able to address the problems when they do occur and ensure they are working with the right payments partner to help thwart off ongoing threats that compromise the integrity of the payments ecosystem.