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  • 13 February 2018 13:51

Cryptocurrency marketplaces hit by a spectrum of attacks amidst major shifts in cybercrime, reveals new ThreatMetrix report

A quarter of a billion cyberattacks last quarter: cryptocurrency in the crosshairs, the rise of russian cybercrime and a holiday shopping season onslaught

ThreatMetrix®, The Digital Identity Company®, today revealed a 113 percent year-over-year increase in cyberattacks in Q4 2017, as both the volume and the nature of attacks transform.

The Battle for a Safe Cryptocurrency Market

The Q4 2017 Cybercrime Report reveals that cryptocurrency marketplaces, designed to facilitate trading on the full range of digital currencies, are experiencing a range of fraudulent activity. The world of cryptocurrency has moved from being the playground of the criminal underworld to be a prime target for attacks on legitimate transactions.

Fraudulent new accounts are created using stolen or synthesized identities to set up mule accounts to launder money. Additionally, legitimate accounts are being hacked to make fraudulent payments and transfer cryptocurrency balances out when at their highest value.

“Cryptocurrency marketplaces need a more accurate way to verify the identity of new customers who open an account in order to prevent the infiltration of criminals,” said Vanita Pandey, Vice President of Product Marketing at ThreatMetrix. “Using intelligence from the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network, these marketplaces can better differentiate between good customers and fraudsters the moment they arrive, and thus see an immediate reduction in fraudulent activity on their platforms.”

From Russia and Vietnam Without Love

The Q4 2017 Cybercrime Report also revealed an increased volume of attacks originating from Russia and Vietnam, using both automated bots and location spoofing tools. In fact, for the very first time, Russia emerged as a top attack originator, with the majority of incidents targeting ecommerce retailers in the U.S. In addition, Vietnam was one of the top 5 attack originators for the first time ever, with a strong concentration of bot attacks on global merchants. Attacks from Vietnam targeted leading businesses in the US, UK, Australia, Singapore and Japan.

Key shopping days in Q4 over the holiday season saw up to 2 million bot attacks coming from Russia alone. These persistent, but increasingly sophisticated, attacks were primarily targeting top American retailers.

eCommerce Attacks: The Dark Side of the Holiday Season The number of attacks on eCommerce during the fourth quarter of 2017 was 113 percent of the volume of attacks across all industries in the previous quarter, underscoring the pressure retailers are under during this period. Almost 193 million transactions were rejected as fraudulent, representing a 173 percent increase over the previous year.

The quarter also saw heavy bot activity from across the globe with more than 34 million attacks during the peak holiday shopping period. In addition to these 34 million attacks, ThreatMetrix recorded about 800 million bot attacks throughout the quarter, ranging from simple account validation attacks to sophisticated bots attempting to masquerade as legitimate customer traffic.

Other key highlights from Cybercrime Report: Q4 2017

● ThreatMetrix detected and stopped 251 million attacks in real time last quarter, as the overall attack rate grew 50 percent year-on-year.

● 52 percent of all online transactions now come from mobile devices, a 54 percent increase from two years ago.

● 58 percent of all account creations are now done on a mobile device, and attacks on mobile account creations grew 150 percent since the start of 2017.

● Cross-border transactions continue to grow quarter-on-quarter: 30 percent of transactions are now cross-border, up from 25 percent at the beginning of 2017.

● The ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network analyzed more than 610 million transactions during the peak holiday shopping days around Black Friday.

● Bot attacks have reached unprecedented levels this quarter with 840 million bot attempts detected and blocked.

“ThreatMetrix holds an unprecedented vantage point from which to help businesses distinguish between trusted users and potential threats, using everything we know about the way a user interacts digitally to better understand the legitimacy of each and every online transaction,” said Pandey. “By harnessing intelligence from the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network, businesses can better detect the markers of high-risk behavior, and thus block cybercrime before it impacts the trust of end users—whether through breached data, monetary loss, or simply by increased friction.”

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