Cybercrime is on the rise. While this isn’t shocking news, the recent Q3 2016 ThreatMetrix study found that even during the traditionally slow third quarter, both financial companies and merchants were dealing with more attacks than ever, Help Net Security reported.
According to the new cybercrime report, researchers analyzed almost 5 billion transactions and stopped 130 million attacks in real time — a 40 percent jump over the same period in 2015.
The study found that mobile transactions saw almost 50 percent growth since last year, to make up 43 percent of total network traffic. Cross-border financial transactions are also increasing. These are still rejected at twice the rate of domestic variants, however, due to their risky nature.
This changing environment is also impacting cybercrime. Many criminals now eschew brute-force attacks, for example. Instead, they attempt to pose as legitimate consumers, driving both account takeover issues and account creation fraud.
Already, 1 in 10 new account creations are rejected due to potentially fraudulent credentials. While this means at least 10 percent of all account attempts are, at the very least, suspicious, there’s a more worrisome consideration: How many malicious accounts make it through the approval process?
Breaking it down by industry, the ThreatMetrix cybercrime report found 76 million blocked e-commerce transactions in Q3 2016, up 60 percent from last year. Financial institutions saw more than half of all service transactions originate from mobile devices, even as login attacks “took a massive jump” following large-scale bot attacks.
Social media, meanwhile, is facing a 400 percent increase of account creation attacks. For criminals, social media sites are a great way to try out stolen credentials, since they often have limited security in place. With many users still leveraging the same passwords and usernames across multiple e-commerce and banking sites, access to social profiles often opens the door for more in-depth attacks.
Attacks are up year over year, while the rise of mobile devices and social sites makes it easier than ever for criminals to gain access. And it doesn’t stop with financial institutions. As noted by Mashable, government officials are already prepping for cybercrime on Election Day — everything from possible disinformation attacks to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) issues.
So what’s the answer? According to ComputerWeekly, the U.S. Treasury wants companies to start talking. The department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently issued an advisory to financial institutions asking them to complete thorough and timely reports of any cyber attacks. The agency also called for greater information sharing between outside agencies and in-house cyber security teams.
Even with markets traditionally slower than average, cybercrime continues to rise as fraudsters find easy way to impersonate users and activate new accounts. Simply put, the attack surface is too large for any one company or security solution to manage. Finance, e-commerce and social media companies need to toss the notion of keeping cybercrimes quiet and start making some noise.