How Cyber-secure are we in this ‘new norm’?

In hindsight, there is always a tipping point that made a whole paradigm
shift into certain dimensions. Covid-19 has acted as this gargantuan tip that stretched the global industries to different proportions. Amongst the many other aspects of changes that have been imposed on, the most striking one is the rapid digital transformation across all verticles. The olden days of banking and money transactions have been substituted by digital banking, BNPL (Buy Now, Pay later), and virtual business transactions have become the ‘new normalcy’.

Every crisis is a golden opportunity for the ‘big bad wolf’ to infiltrate and take advantage of the situation for personal gains disregarding the cost to the already struggling entities on the receiving end. Likewise, cyber-criminals have capitalized on the gradual shift to the digital channel transactions that ensued from the pandemic.Since the digital shift has incorporated as a sudden necessity to survive,rather than through scrutiny and planning, this gaping hole has been exploited and targeted by cyber-criminals around the globe.The recent report of LexisNexis on cyber crime is an excellent piece that shed slight on digital transformation challenges.

Global digital transactions have a growth of 28%; 30% growth in financial services transactions, +21% growth in eCommerce transactions, and +27% growth in media transactions as per the LNRS report for the time interval of Jan – June 2021.Coming to the unavoidable dismal part of the report, there is an increase of 41% growth in automated bot attacks YOY.

automated bot attacks

Organized crime rings continue to industrialize their attacks, leveraging mass data breaches,sophisticated automated tools, deep dark-web intelligence,” says Julie Conroy, Head of Risk Insights and Advisory, AITE – Novarica Group.Merchant and businesses that have fewer security layers and the cyber-security is at its infancy stage are the lower hanging fruits that can be easily fallen into the cyber-traps.

According to this report, new account creations have the highest attack rate( 1 in every 11 transactions) of all use cases; 52% growth YOY in automated bot volume attempting account takeovers.Automated bot attacks on payment transactions (likely testing stolen credit card credentials) and password reset attacks are also increased at alarming rates. Compared to the other means of transactions, ie, mobile browsers and mobile app desktop transactions have seen the highest rate of attack across all core use cases.

cyber security

The regional statistics show us that no country/continent is immune to this cyber atrocity. APAC region has the highest fraus rates across the mobile and desktop platforms in comparison to the global trend.Australia and India showed a rise in vaccination scams where scammers have stolen personal information. This confidential information is further used to create new accounts with financial institutions.Japan and India, both appear on the list of top attack originators globally!!

The mature digital environments in EMEA regions have driven down the fraudulent activities in Digital Identity Network. In search of a new market to deceive individuals, scammers have found their haven in alternative attack typologies such as Covid-related, romance, and investment scams. After eliciting personal information, scammers can perform account take over or social engineer the victim to make an authorized payment.

The statistics from LATAM points out the fact that the attack rates are highest in the region in comparison to the rest of the world, across all use cases. Both mobile app and browsers have a higher risk for fraudulent activities which is clear from the 8% increase in attacks targeting the mobile channels.

Though the well-established digital economy in North America is less vulnerable to cyber threats, the slackened digital security resulting from the pandemic has caused a slightly more volatile attack trend for the region. Identity spoofing and Covid vaccine scams have flourished in the region.

The report also shows that there’s a decline in the attack rates across the eCommerce industry which in turn gives us the hope that with the right precautionary measures and strategies, we will be able to tighten our cyber-security and steer clear of cyber trap-doors. Adopting the 3DS2 protocol and having a strong customer authentication are some of the used and proven ways mentioned in the report. Organizations are also advised to have a common network where entities/financial accounts can be marked as high-risk or threat and can be reviewed by the subsequent organization before making the transaction.

The adaptability and flexibility of humankind to persevere and push through the curve balls have always been our strong suit. We found a way to keep our business alive during the most unprecedented pandemic in human history, by going digital. Now, there is a need to build a wall around cyberspace that effectively fends off frauds and scammers alike. That is a hoop a little higher to jump, but isn’t always all the innovations are born out of sheer necessity?!

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