How do you envision cybercriminals in your mind’s eye? You may perceive this nefarious group as opportunists, envisioning the stereotype of a lone wolf hacker in a basement with a number of devices, ready to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
While you would be correct – these types of fraudsters do exist – there is another category of fraudsters, one that may seem to be at complete odds to the stereotypical hacker image purported by Hollywood. These fraudsters are highly connected, organized criminal gangs – such is the complexity, reach and scope of these fraudsters, they work more akin to experienced office workers, managing specialized teams in their pursuit of fraudulent monetary gain.
In fact, such is the success of these fraudsters, that cybercrime is now a bona fide enterprise in its own right, mirroring the operations of genuine businesses. In ‘procurement’, money mules are recruited, while ‘engineering’ develops and builds new methods of attack and ‘finance’ exits the funds gained by the criminal enterprise. Indeed, the global cybercrime industry generates revenues that rival some significant world economies and continues to shift and evolve in order to maximize profits.
Fraud networks sit at the core of the cybercrime business model, with such networks proving to be well-organized, hyperconnected and global. It is imperative for businesses to understand how these global fraud networks function and operate, with the latest LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report analyzing their anatomy by geography, industry and volume. Providing a unique insight into networked cybercrime, as well as the constantly evolving cybercrime landscape, the LexisNexis Cybercrime Report highlights a number of trends, including:
- Fraud Without Borders
As the digital economy continues to expand, consumers enjoy access to goods and services from all over the world. This cross-border transacting, however, is not reserved only for consumers. Fraudsters are also maximizing the opportunities that a global digital economy affords. The report found that fraudsters are operating across country borders, with fraudulent behavior found to spider web out from one organization to many, across industries and geographies.
- Mobile Attacks Outpace Desktop for the First Time
The Cybercrime Report found that the mobile attack rate is growing 56% year-over-year, while the desktop attack rate is falling 23% year-over-year. Although the growth in mobile attack rate was heavily influenced by a key global bot attack, it nevertheless shows a shift in focus of global cybercrime towards targeting the mobile channel.
- Growing Threat of Networked Cybercrime
The LexisNexis® Digital Identity Network® tracked numerous examples of fraudsters working across industries throughout 2019. Fraudsters were found to operate across banking networks, e-commerce merchants, media organizations, fintech providers and credit reference agencies. In one month, for example, 73,000 devices were associated with fraud at more than one organization within the Digital Identity Network.
The largest individual network analyzed spanned six countries, included all three core industries (financial services, e-commerce and media), with $12.5M exposed to fraud in one month.
- High Mobile Penetration Offers New Opportunity to Fraudsters in Europe
The more mature digital economy in Europe has fueled the growth of mobile transactions in the region. In fact, Europe sees the highest penetration of mobile transactions of all global regions.
While overall attack rates are consistent with global figures, the mobile app attack rate is lower than the global average. However, there are strong pockets of growth in attack rates year-over-year, particularly in mobile app new account creations across all industries.
- Automated Bots Continue to Impact Global Digital Businesses
The Digital Identity Network recorded strong growth in bot attacks from Canada, Germany, France, India and Brazil, despite the fact that the global bot volume has fallen year-over-year.
In one instance, financial services account creation transactions were targeted by the same bot coming from Brazil, India and Thailand, indicating how fraudsters are using complex automation from multiple locations to launch targeted attacks.
The key findings from the Cybercrime Report show just how important it is for businesses to leverage tools that can identify global fraud while maintaining a low-friction environment for trusted users. Leveraging networks and consortia to share intelligence related to cybercrime and known fraudsters across industries and geographies is more important than ever.
As fraudsters operate networks unrestricted by regional, country or industry borders, businesses must align with the fraud typologies they need to defend against: networked, layered, inter-connected and operating without borders.
For more information on cybercrime trends, please download the LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report, which offers global, regional and industry views of fraud activity based on the analysis of nearly 19 billion digital transactions worldwide.