Photo - Goh Chee Hoh, Managing Director, SEA Region, Trend Micro Inc
Trend Micro's recent online survey shows that eight out of 10 Malaysian Internet users now shop online and that shoppers must be wary of cyber security and fraud threats, said the digital information security firm.
Malaysia-based Trend Micro SEA Region managing director Goh Chee Hoh said the increase in Malaysia reflects a global and regional increase in online commerce. "Global online retails sales passed US$1 trillion last year and are expected to grow by 17.1 percent this year, according to eMarketer, with the Asia Pacific region accounting for more than a third of the sales."
Goh cited market research firm Nielsen's expectations that Malaysia's online shopping market would increase to RM5 billion (US$1.52 billion) by 2015.
He said Internet users should continue to be cautious despite a reported drop in online fraud incidents in the first quarter of 2013 by Bank Negara (Malaysia National Bank). "The rapid growth of online shopping worldwide together with the immense increase of money changing hands in the cyberspace, especially after the reduction of the of the Online Interbank GIRO (IBG) to 10 sen, will attract more cyber criminals to target online shoppers."
"The main risks for online shoppers lie in replying to unsolicited emails spoofed to appear to originate from reputable retailers," said Goh. "Clicking through the links in these could lead unsuspecting users to a phishing site designed to steal their credit card credentials."
"Other scam emails feature special offers or luxury goods at knock-down prices - the end goal again is to trick the user into giving away their personal and online banking information. Remember, many fake sites and fraudulent buyers and sellers exist on the Internet," he said.
"In addition, cyber criminals took advantage of a loophole, dubbed the 'Master Key' which affects 99 percent of Android devices, by offering a malicious update for a legitimate banking app from one of the largest South Korean financial institutions," said Goh.
Upon update, the genuine but compromised banking app will request users to provide their latest personal information. The app will then seed this information to a remote server operated by cyber criminals who will use it to generate ill gains.
Malaysians missing basic security steps
Goh said Trend Micro's recent survey also showed that Malaysian Internet users are not taking basic precautionary measures when shopping online.
"An astonishing 30 percent of the respondents revealed they are using the same password across different financial accounts," he said, while a quarter of the respondents admitted they have derived their password from easily identifiable information like date of birth and mobile phone number. "The study also shows that one in five respondents have no worry conducting financial transaction at work or via public Wi-Fi connection."
Trend Micro's advice to online shoppers includes:
- If the offer's too good to be true, it most probably is.
- Bookmark the spot. If you want to keep buying stuff from a site, it is a good idea to bookmark it.
- Use payment methods that protect buyers during the checkout process.
- Do not shop in a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Use reliable security solutions.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.