Latest data revealed today shows that 130 million fraud attacks were detected in just a 90-day period with the growth in attacks outpacing transaction growth by 50 percent.
The heightened risk levels have been attributed to significant growth in cybercriminal activity from emerging markets including several countries in South America, as cybercrime becomes more networked, global and cross-border. In addition, Europe is evolving as a cybercrime hub, targeting other strong economies with higher levels of attacks.
The latest research, from ThreatMetrix®, The Digital Identity Company® -- which analyzes and protects more than 5 billion online transactions each quarter -- cited that the sheer volume of these attacks underlines the widespread and increasingly devastating impact of stolen and breached identity data available.
"We saw a number of high-profile global breaches over the last year. Identities are being bought, sold, traded and augmented by criminals seeking to improve the success of their increasingly complex attacks," says Vanita Pandey, vice president of product marketing at ThreatMetrix. "All of this points to one thing: Identities are the critical currency in cybercrime this year and it is up to businesses to look beyond static data to check that users are who they say they are."
New cybercrime techniques lead to rising attack levels
The Q1 2017 Cybercrime Report also revealed that attack vectors and attack patterns are evolving and becoming more pernicious:
There was a strong footprint of Remote Access Trojans (RATs) in the financial services industry; these attacks combine remote access software with precise social engineering attacks.
Fintech is being hit with identity spoofing attacks that capitalize on the rich pickings of peer-to-peer loans, global remittance and potential loopholes in new and emerging platforms. This is set within the context of continued growth in digital wallets and online remittances. There was an 80 percent increase in digital wallet transactions year-on-year as well as a 180 percent increase in associated bot attacks, typically used to mass test identity credentials.
The media industry is becoming a breeding ground for identity testing with typically low barriers to entry and often fewer security procedures. This has also made the industry more susceptible to fake news and reviews.
"The complexity and speed of evolving attack vectors continues to take us by surprise. Fraudsters are operating within a much broader cybercrime landscape; one that shares knowledge, tools and exploits; trades information, tests and refines and constantly analyzes the market for new opportunities," says Pandey. "Businesses must become the all-powerful lion to the fraudsters' gazelle, outsmarting them with dynamic shared intelligence to genuinely understand online users' unique digital identities."
Europe becomes a real threat in global cybercrime
At a time of political and financial uncertainties in Europe, cybercrime data reveals a significant rise of attacks originating from Europe.
The number of attacks originating from Europe is 50 percent higher than from the US. Europe is emerging as a cybercrime hub, with the largest economies targeting each other in what appears to be a cybercrime show of strength.
The UK, one of the largest attack originators, is targeting its attacks on the US, Ireland, Austria and Australia, as well domestic attacks.
This pattern is similarly reflected in attacks from Germany, France and Italy.
Digital mobility is rapidly changing the way consumers are transacting
As mobile penetration and mobile app adoption continues to grow, digital businesses are increasingly prioritizing the mobile experience to improve customer engagement and increased transaction volumes.
Forty-five percent of transactions now come from mobile platforms, with the strongest mobile footprint in financial services, which sees over 50 percent of transactions originating from mobile devices.
Customer engagement on mobile is high, with some Financial Institutions reporting 3X higher logins for mobile users.
Europe is the most mobile region, with 51 percent mobile transactions.
Mobile transactions worldwide have grown 400 percent over the last two years, with 500 million more average monthly transactions in Q1 2017 than Q1 2015.