So your bank wants to transfer money to an unknown number. Does this sound familiar? Maybe even laughable? But without a second thought, you transfer the money because, hey, why wouldn’t you? Now, this is a very common thought process that should be changed if you need to save your money!!

No one is thinking that one bad day our money would be gone because someone will hack into our bank account saying that our account was linked with Aadhaar. Besides, there are so many challenges. A Prime Minister’s decision alone can change the course of the entire nation. There’s an extra burden on security forces as well as political parties year after year. Amid all this chaos and confusion, how strong is our Digital Security?

With the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) made available for public use and the limits on transactions raised to Rs. 1 lakh, the UPI is set to revolutionize the mobile payment ecosystem by becoming the primary mode of payments for both individuals and businesses. However, with higher usage, comes higher scope for cyber-attacks and digital security concerns. While there have been no major security breaches as of now, it is important to be aware of how a UPI works and how you can protect it from being hacked.

1.  How UPI Works

UPI or the Universal Payments Interface is a real boon for online users in India. Not only are you able to do multiple transactions in one go, but you can also choose from several different banks. This means that by 2017, over 27 banks were offering UPI services. Banks like ICICI and State Bank offer this service to their customers and the option has streamlined their online transfer process.

UPI is an interface allowing you to make transactions through a mobile app. The National Payments Corporation of India has done the successful creation of UPI, which also permits you to conduct financial transactions within a security frame. The enablement of digital transactions makes it easier for customers.

2. How Does it Ensure Secure Payments?

Security is of paramount importance for UPI, the app that’s seen a big boom in the middle of last year. The rise of the digital payments market and demonetization has caused many people to ditch their cash, and embrace digital transactions. There are many UPI apps that you can download to your smartphone. However, before downloading the app and accepting payments, ensure the app is legitimate by verifying who the official developer of the app is.

UPI is a quick and inexpensive way to transfer money to your friends, family, and merchants. Also, it is faster than payment gateways (debit cards, NEFT). Using UPI can eliminate fraudulent banking charges as UPI notifies you about the money transferred.

3. How can a Hacker try to Hack our UPI Payments?
  • Phishing: Can you hear it? No, there’s no swampy, fishy smell in the air, which you can attribute to mosquitos. What I’m referring to is the act of phishing for information — perhaps your bank details, maybe your ATM PIN. Anyone who’s used UPI knows the pain of having to enter an entire 16-digit number after each transaction to authenticate a payment or transfer funds.
  • Screen Monitor: There is always a scope for bugs to enter a system, especially when you rely on third-party developers who have little to no knowledge of your thematics. However, you can still keep your UPI details safe from being tapped by someone else by using some of the best mobile apps available around that can help keep your bank accounts organized and secure.
  • Scam Calls: Banks and mobile payment companies, or MNCs, have issued many warnings to their customers about fake calls from fraudsters and imposters. Fake callers claim to be representatives from banks and mobile wallet operators – and ask for sensitive information.
4. How to Prevent it From Happening
  • Ensure security: Ensure your registered mobile number and other personal details are not shared with anyone. Never make a call or type in the text to submit this information.
  • Zero Response: Spoofers are routinely sending spam messages to scam users for gaining their private details. Go extra cautious while clicking on links that have shortcodes, and other numbers. If a user is not wary, he/she may end up downloading a malicious program that might affect the overall performance of the device.
  • Red Alert (3rd Party Apps): While you might feel safe carrying your card on you at all times, this can leave your sensitive and confidential data susceptible to theft. Anyone who makes use of skimming technology can easily steal the particulars of your card, including the PIN code and CVV number.
  • Lense Check Contacts: This is a very important step as there have been instances where imposters have created fake UPI apps that steal money. NEVER accept ANY incoming request for money on your UPI app. If you get an unidentified money request, immediately decline it.

While the idea of sending instant money to someone using your mobile number sounds good, it had its share of unforeseen problems. Persistent issues with this new service have threatened to turn the public against it. Issues such as double charges and the unavailability of Instant Money have created mayhem in the lives of many people. The most serious problem, however, is a security breach that can be exploited by unscrupulous elements.

UPI cybersecurity is a much-talked-about issue. What cybercriminals target today are banking applications, which hold all your credit card information, bank account details, and debit card information. Based on the sensitivity of this information, you must take measures to secure your accounts.

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