Cybercrime Continues Rapid Increase in Q42016

Cybercrime IncreasesCybercrime continues to grow at alarming rates. Not only are cybercrime attacks up, the level of sophistication of cybercriminals continues to increase.

A new report from ThreatMetrix provides details on the continuing growth in cyber threats.

ThreatMetrix monitors digital attacks. In the last quarter of 2016 the company detected 122 million attacks – a 35% increase over what they saw during the same time period of the previous year.

Mobile continues to grow in importance – the growth rate of mobile transactions is double the growth in desktop transactions. Mobile now accounts for 43% of all transactions.

Cross-border transactions are also growing – and are considered to be riskier than domestic only transactions. Brazil has emerged as a major source of cyberattacks against people and companies in the US and elsewhere.

ThreatMetrix’s data also highlights one of the challenges of slowing down cybercrime: fixing one fraud problem may unintentionally create other problems.

America has finally gotten on board with “EMV” technology. EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) is the technical term for the “chip” credit cards that are replacing older credit cards. The chip technology goes a long way toward reducing credit card fraud when the card is present. Unfortunately, EMV cards make no difference whatsoever for online commerce, so there has been a spike in new account fraud that directly parallels the adoption of EMV technology. Thieves are adapting their methodology to a changing environment.

Another way cyberthieves adapt is by finding new opportunities. Gift cards have become increasingly popular. Of course, sometimes people get gift cards for retailers they really aren’t interested in purchasing from – so a “gift card marketplace” has emerged, where people can sell gift cards that they don’t want and haven’t used. So, no surprise, we see a spike in efforts to hack into the gift card marketplaces. Gift card marketplaces also give thieves a great way to monetize stolen credit cards: they can buy gift cards with the stolen card and then sell it on one of the marketplaces.

The report also shows the importance of protecting one’s identity data:

Companies are often quick to issue reassurances that stolen password data was hashed or payment credentials encrypted, but what is clear is that identity data is the critical currency in global cybercrime, as fraudsters piece together full and convincing identities which are then used to perpetrate large-scale attacks.

You can take all the precautions you like, but unless everyone you do business with who has access to key components of your identity such as your name, address, and most especially social security number, you are vulnerable to being a victim of cyberfraud perpetrated by someone who was able to access your identity information.

Current approaches to data security are a game of “whack-a-mole,” with the cybercriminals rapidly adapting to the tweaks companies make to their systems. The core technology at the heart of today’s online data security is outmoded. What’s needed is a radically new approach, such as PACid’s Bolt-on Strong Security, which is new paradigm that does away with the vulnerabilities in today’s technology.