One in ten new user accounts created to perpetrate fraud: ThreatMetrix

One in every ten user accounts opened online is created by an online criminal using false credentials to support Web-fraud efforts, research from security vendor ThreatMetrix has suggested.

Number-crunching from the company’s Global Trust Intelligence Network, which aggregates information from 1.7 billion security events across 1500 customers and 9000 Web sites, had seen a doubling in the frequency of efforts to perpetrate payments fraud – from 3.1 per cent of attacks to 6.4 per cent in the six months to March – using fraudulent accounts.

Common fraudulent transactions included creating a profile on a social-networking site, enrolling in an authentication scheme or applying for new lines of credit. Account takeover attempts grew by 168% over the same period, with man-in-the-browser attacks harvesting details and automated credential-testing scripts testing those credentials for effectiveness.

Other credentials are harvested from other sites, on the basis that many customers reuse credentials across sites; criminals just test user-name and password combinations until they hit upon a working combination.

“Account registrations saw the highest rate of attack among the key customer engagement use cases,” said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer with ThreatMetrix in a statement. “These breaches underscore the relative ease of obtaining a person’s full identity information sufficient enough to bypass most identity verification capabilities.”

The doubling of the attack rate in six months reflected the increasing use of banking malware to steal financial details, as well as an increasing percentage of digital goods within the company’s customer base and expansion of their businesses worldwide.

Also fingered was increasing use of free and commercial VPN services, and growing use of platform-as-a-service providers to set up IP tunnels that help avoid detection. While financial services generally require some level of identity information online and block known fraudsters, attackers’ real identity was most commonly hidden by being redirected through proxies and VPNs, which can be used to bypass IP address-based blacklists.

The growing focus on financial targets was raising the stakes in online cybercrime defence initiatives, with financial targets naturally increasing as ever higher-value transactions were run online.

“The economic impact of these attacks varies by industry,” Faulkner said. “However, the common thread is that without automated visibility into the true device, persona, relationship and global behaviour, the only alternative is additional verification roadblocks put in front of legitimate customers and extended review and hold-out periods.”

Follow @CSO_Australia and sign up to the CSO Australia newsletter.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ThreatMetrix

More about CSO

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts