E-commerce operators remain vigilant amid rising cyber threats

MyCert states this year, fraud tops the highest number of cybersecurity attacks with 2,563 cases

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

AS DEPENDENCE on technology increases day by day, the issue of cyber threats continues to grow.

According to Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCert), there were over 10,000 cyber-security attacks on corporations and individuals across Malaysia last year, which was an increase of 35% compared to 2017.

As at May 2019, the highest cases recorded on cyber platforms were fraud at 2,563, followed by intrusion attempts (432) and malicious codes (409). This is a concern for online service providers, especially e-commerce sites, as it stresses the importance and need for improved cybersecurity.

Shopee regional MD Ian Ho (picture) said a typical scam attempted on its e-commerce platform is whereby, the scammer lists a product and encourages users to contact them and transact off the platform.

“That is why we always urge our users not to transact outside of Shopee because if they were to transfer the money directly to the seller, it will be almost impossible to retrieve it.

“If you transact within our platform, your money will be protected by our ‘Shopee Guarantee’ policy,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an interview.

“Shopee Guarantee” is a special feature that holds the money from all purchases in escrow and only releases the payment to sellers after buyers have confirmed receipt of product.

“If we receive reports of attempted scams through our platform, we will not only immediately ban the product listing and shop, but we will also ban the device used by the perpetrator,” he added.

Last year, MyCERT found that fraud cases on cyberspace increased 34% compared to 2017, while intrusion attempts jumped a staggering 578% in a year, followed by a 108% increase in malicious codes.

Ho said Shopee has engaged with several ministries and government agencies such as the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and Royal Malaysian Customs Department to protect the platform’s security. “They proactively inform us of scammers’ new modus operandi which enables us to take preemptive measures to thwart these scam attempts.

“From a product and listings perspective, we have a dedicated in-app portal called ‘Shopee Mall’ strictly for official brands, distributors and retail partners only.”

He said if any products bought from “Shopee Mall” are found to be counterfeit, Shopee will refund users double the money they spent.

“Keywords of prohibited items are already blacklisted in the system and hence, any attempts to sell these products will be futile as our system will trigger an automatic ban.

“That should give users peace of mind when shopping on our platform,” he added.

PUC Bhd CTO Erwin Foo said cyber fraud and data security are two main cyber threats that should be given due attention.

“We are unable to reveal how many cases have been identified thus far, however, we can share the percentage of product returns over transaction volume on PrestoMall (previously known as 11street) from January to May 2019, which was less than 1%.

“Some of the product returns or what we call dispute parcel are mainly wrong products, faulty products and counterfeit products,” he told TMR.

Foo said PrestoMall’s e-commerce platform is constantly monitoring products and transactions made to ensure they are genuine.

“We have our internal risk management team and standard operating procedures in place to flag out suspicious products and transactions to keep our sellers and consumers from the risks,” he said.

Recently, Bernama reported the private sector has been urged to coordinate with the government to help with business security, infrastructure and public awareness.

According to Foo, in terms of security, PrestoMall has implemented the escrow system for payment arrangements and put in place a thorough return policy to safeguard the interest of sellers and consumers.

“There is also Know Your Customer programme for mobile payment users which is regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia to protect users against the potential risks of financial crime.

“We are committed to keeping up with the latest fraud trends in the industry and reinventing to implement and enhance new policies,” he added.

Last year, the e-Commerce Consumers Survey 2018, released by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, reported that 51.2% of Malaysians used e-commerce platforms to shop and sell online in the past 12 months.

The survey noted that despite the high awareness of e-commerce, more than half of online shoppers are still concerned about security and privacy when shopping online.