Why Cybersecurity is still too weak in a Cashless Economy

The inexorable rise of cybercrime has made it a risky time to be running a business that depends on the internet. When that business is dealing with payments, brokering financial transactions for potentially millions of customers, the stakes are even higher.

One cyber attack in July, targeting a global network of payments terminals using software supplied by US firm Kaseya, amply illustrates the risks facing the sector. It was mounted by a hacking gang using a ransomware strain known as REvil.

In the statement it made after the attack, Kaseya reported that only 60 of its customers were affected – which, while correct, demonstrates the concentration of power in the payments industry. Those 60 customers were supporting about 1,500 other businesses, which were rendered incapable of taking payments.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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