Falak Hyat (March 12, 2014)
Running an online business comes with challenges such as online threats, frauds and phishing attacks. In a rapidly changing and competitive business environment, customers can easily shift loyalty to another company if they feel a lack of trust or a security concern with your online business.
Companies spend millions on software’s that can secure the website and protect them from hackers and violation of customer’s private data. Sometimes it is still not enough to pacify a customer when the website is not functioning properly.
Recently the customers of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) were faced by phishing attacks which left the customers bewildered. After the company shifted from paper bills to electronic bills, the customers started receiving emails, enquiring about their personal information and card details etc.
DEWA officials informed customers not to reply to any emails that were not from the official website and were directing customers to another website and asking for important data. This obviously led customers to feel hesitant about using the website and receiving emails from DEWA.
“At this stage, there have been no definite reports of DEWA customers falling victims to this hoax. However, if customers receive a suspicious email, we advise them to take necessary caution and not access the link or enter their personal information,” the authority added. It may be noted that DEWA’s official website is www.dewa.gov.ae. Its original bills are emailed to customers from the official email ID email@example.com and customers can use the email firstname.lastname@example.org for any enquiries, said DEWA in a statement earlier when this issue arose.
Our research shows that multiple companies in the past have been endangered with web security issues and have lost personal information and even credit card numbers to fraud parties trying to benefit from misleading customers online.
Research done by Kaspersky Lab’s, in their survey on phishing attacks states, “The evolution of phishing attacks by 2011-2013” shows that the number of internet users facing phishing attacks has increased from 19.9 million to 37.3, which is a growth of 87 % .”
A phishing attack is an online method which is adopted by scammers who are looking to steal money and important personal information from people. The phishing attack usually comes in the form of an e-mail that delivers a message, which is masked as if from a reliable source, such as an e-commerce business, bank or a Credit Card Company.
The emails ask customers to verify their personal information, or else there will be negative outcomes, for example paying extra or blocking of an account etc. Users are manipulated into providing confidential information such as credit card numbers, account details and even social security numbers and passwords.
It is necessary for companies to make the correct moves and protect themselves against various online threats and hackers who are looking to steal private information. If reliable solutions are not implemented it can damage your company’s repute and reduce customer loyalty. Here are a few suggestions on what online businesses can do to secure themselves from online threats and regain customer confidence.
Businesses must protect their companies from phishing attacks and cases of fraud by using a secured protocol ensuring that the URL contains https so that it certifies all your interaction and information sharing is not visible to anyone else.
Taking the example of DEWA, besides the social media awareness campaign warning customers about the phishing attack, if a service such as live chat was utilized on the company website, the customer coming onto the website would have been able to interact and share their security concerns and in a matter of seconds the customers could get directed towards authorized people from DEWA who could assist them to take the right precautions and only use authentic emails coming from DEWA.
Many customers who are shopping or looking for information online feel secure if they are able to interact with a real person on the website. The live chat option makes the customer feel safe and secure while giving out personal information like email address or phone number because they are aware of talking to a representative from the company.
A live chat solution not only provides customer service and support but can also help a company collect data in case of a phishing attack where fake emails are being sent by talking to the customer directly. This would support and speed up the investigation process, making the company more efficient in collecting information and acting on it.
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