September 27, 2020

Payments Over Online Platforms: How To Keep It Safe and Secure.

Online payment or Digital payment is an internet-based method to carry out economic transactions. It allows a vendor to accept payments via the internet. The most common use of online transactions is payment from a consumer to a retailer via net banking, E-wallets, or UPI. The majority of online payments in India happen through Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Net banking, and third-party apps like paytm, Google Pay, Phonepe, and MobiKwik. UPI is one of the simplest yet most efficient payment methods that has become a very important part of any business. Be it business transactions or paying taxes, the government is focusing on digitizing payments. GST payment online is also a part of the government push towards digital payments. It not only creates efficiency for a taxpayer to pay taxes or file GST annual return, but it also saves time and other logistical costs. The integration of digital payment technology in the GST portal has created a significant boost in people opting for payments through online platforms.

But as with any new technology, it is very important that you make yourself aware of the risks involved. Though most of the digital payments are safe and secure, there could be cyber thefts that could happen if a user does not take the necessary precautions.

How cyber thefts work.

Trojan virus: The most common cyber theft method is through a trojan. A trojan is a type of malicious code that looks legitimate but in the background takes control of your device. A trojan is designed to steal or inflict some harmful action on your network or device. It is mainly used to steal your personal details, banking details, or any other important data that it is programmed to find. But it could also be used to block, delete, modify, or copy any data from your device.

How it works: You might receive a message or an email from someone and click on an attachment that might look legitimate. But in the background there, a trojan is attached that silently installs itself on your device. It doesn’t make any changes to your device per se, and you will not be able to detect it unless you scan your device for viruses. Once it is installed, it can transfer all the details and activities that happen on your device, including all your card details or net banking passwords.

Few methods of trojan hacking:

  • Rootkit: Rootkits are designed to hide certain codes or activities in your system. Often, their purpose is to prevent from being detected in order to keep the device infected for a long time.
  • Trojan-downloader: Trojan downloader can download and install new versions of malicious software onto your devices. This not only keeps the trojan from getting detected easily but also gains new methods to stay on your device.
  • Trojan-spy: Trojan-Spy programs are designed to spy activities on your device. This is mainly used to monitor any activity on your device or even snooping.
  • Trojan-banker: These are designed to steal account data from net banking, e-payments, or credit or debit cards.

How to stay safe:

Be Smart: While you are browsing the internet. Be it entertainment websites, product reviews, social networking sites, or anything, clicking suspicious links runs the risk of malware infection for your device. Keeping antivirus active on your device helps you stay alert. It helps detect a potentially malicious link and prevents you from unintentionally clicking a link while making payment that could be diverted to the hacker instead of whom the payment was intended to be paid.

Type link instead of clicking: Instead of clicking any given link for payment directly, Try and type a link if you feel it is malicious. It might take a little effort, but it helps you in avoiding going towards any fake website designed to infect and steal from you.

Install antivirus: One of the best ways to stay safe and browse without any worry will be to install antivirus on your device. An antivirus will work silently in the background and will stop you from going to any malicious link. It also helps avoid any malicious software from getting downloaded on your device that could steal your payment details.

Scan devices often: Most of the antivirus software runs an automatic scan on your device weekly or fortnightly. It is best to schedule your antivirus to scan your device at least once a week.

Always update antivirus: Hacking technology is growing. Malware and trojans are being intelligently designed to bypass firewalls and antiviruses. Keeping your antivirus up to date helps in blocking new viruses.

HTTPS-enabled sites: While making a payment, always check whether the website has an https certificate enabled. Https enabled website has a small “lock icon” on the left side of the website URL in the address bar. A website with Https enabled means that it is secure to browse or make any payments.

Avoid public networks: While making payments, try and avoid using any public wifi or any public internet network. A hacker could use wifi as a tool to infect your device and steal payment details.

Keep your details secure: Never share passwords, card details, or any other payment related details online. Don’t save banking usernames and passwords in the browser. Always log out after using online banks.

Avoid using unfamiliar payment gateways: The GST portal has a dedicated section for online payments of taxes. Directly logging in to the portal and making the payment is best. Any third party website claiming to be connected with the portal must always be avoided.

Conclusion

While making a GST payment online or filing GST annual return, it is always best to use government-approved payment gateways. Apps like BHIM support UPI payments and are an initiative for seamless online transactions. Banks that use OTP as an added layer of security are also recommended. When you make a payment, a bank sends you One Time Password to your registered mobile number, which helps to keep online payments secure. The government portal is highly secure and can be used without worries, but you should use only safe devices to make online payments. You should regularly scan your phone or computer to check if it is infected with any suspicious software. With just a few precautions like installing antivirus, keeping antivirus up to date, running frequent scans, and avoiding suspicious links will help you browse the internet safely and make your tax payment without any worries.