Pandemic drives Paypal transactions up 20 percent globally



    COVID-19, not the speed of technological development has advanced the whole world towards becoming more digital

    In a short three months, digital has shifted from being a “good to have” service to an essential platform for transacting business. Many systems—delivery, payment, rentals, hiring—have recognized phenomenal increases in enrolment or use of their platforms.

    According to Guru Bhat, VP for omni channel and customer success at PayPal online transactions are up 20 percent year-over-year. Bhat spoke to a group of media practitioners online, in the first among many virtual press conferences for the payment platform.

    Last year, the company reported it processed over 3 billion payments from 325 million active users. A 20 percent increase this year means an additional 600 million transactions globally.

    But the increase in the use of digital payment platforms also saw a rise in digital fraud with phishing attacks and fake websites leading the ways essential information is extracted from public accounts.

    Bhat pointed to a March 2020 Google report that revealed a 350 percent increase in phishing sites, as well as a jump in the number of fake COVID websites globally from 1,600-39,000. Also recorded was a 33 percent increase in ransomware payments in whole first quarter of the year. Many businesses who fell prey to ransomware ended up paying up using untraceable bitcoin transactions during Q1.

    “The question of cyberattacks is not an ‘if’ question, it’s a ‘when’ question. No matter what you do, as long as you use software, as long as you have a presence on the internet, sooner or later, you are going to be attacked,” Phoram Mehta, chief infosec officer for PayPal’s Asia Pacific region said in the second part of the virtual presser.

    This is a short list of the most common cyberattacks on most fintech platforms.

    Smishing is the easiest and most popular kind of intrusion. Meaning SMS phishing, and uses text messaging to fool the receiver to provide sensitive financial information like a credit card number.

    Synthetic identities create a false user profile from information from a real person. This form of identity fraud is commonly used by trolls. Scammers use it to communicate with unsuspecting people as if they were dealing with a real person, because some of the information is verifiable.

    Location based / tracking cyberattacks use vehicle-collected data which cybercriminals use to grab personal data. In extreme situations, hackers can disable the vehicle and hostage it, or take over some driving functions. Sometimes simple location tracking or driving history can also be sold as sensitive data.

    Cloud jacking is a form of cyberattack wherein hackers go into unprotected territories of the public Cloud and get into systems of companies. Basically used to mine for cryptocurrency, system data, and insertion of malware of ransomware can also be done this way.

    More advanced attacks involve self-learning artificial intelligence. Bhat however said the vulnerability of this kind of attack happens when AI is learning a new model or system.

    Finally, there are cyberattacks already identified by developers of 5G involving the speed and real-time capabilities of the signal transmission mode. The quicker transmission and higher bandwidth of 5G will allow hackers to rapidly deploy attacks which should be responded to as quickly as possible too.

    Paypal, being the world’s most popular payment platform said it was obligated to determine the extent of these attacks and create products to combat them. He also said that it was imperative that Paypal users know how to identify and avoid these threats.

    As a payment platform it is built on trust. And the company believes that to strengthen that trust, security is important. Which is why the company has spent a huge investment on security, starting from authentication to processing measures that are rigid and secure to protect its entire ecosystem.

    “We make a ton of investment in technology because we are not really just a payments company. We are a trust company,” said Bhat.

    The rise of cybercrime also puts PayPal in a proactive security mode, watching over all aspects of the business to ensure that customer confidence and trust, which is the core of its business, is protected.

    While PayPal cautions of the dangers the digital platforms and those using it face, it is also confident that the segment will continue to in the APAC region.


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