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Mobile app fraud transactions have skyrocketed 680% since 2015

24 May 2018

As our lives become increasingly ensconced within apps on our mobile devices, it seems so too does cybercrime.

RSA Security today released its Q1 2018 Fraud Report that revealed some extraordinary figures. While the sheer volume of mobile app transactions has increased 200 percent since 2015, those that are fraudulent have risen by 680 percent since 2015.

“There has been a sharp rise in the volume of legitimate transactions carried out over mobile apps, so it’s only natural that hackers have followed suit in targeting mobile channels for fraud,” says RSA Fraud and Risk Intelligence director Daniel Cohen.

“Unfortunately, many mobile apps fail to build security from the ground up. This means cybercriminals and fraudsters are able to slip through the cracks, hijacking mobile applications and siphoning off credentials and funds. As mobile-related fraud continues to grow, consumers and businesses alike need to be aware of the risks.”

Some of the key stats include:

  • The use of traditional web browsers for fraudulent transactions has fallen since 2015 from 62 percent to 35 percent
  • 82 percent of the observed fraudulent e-commerce transactions originated from a new device or a ‘burner phone’ as hackers look to avoid detection
  • In 32 percent of the cases during the Q1 2018 fraudsters used a new account and a new device
  • One in every four of the attacks during Q1 2018 contained Trojan malware
  • RSA managed to recover more than 3.1 million unique compromised cards and previews from reliable online sources – all of which had CVC codes

And the attacks don’t just stop at malicious apps, as cybercriminals look to take advantage of increasing availability of social media on mobile devices.

“Social media provides the perfect control station for cyber criminals, who can easily create profiles using fake details to operate on the platforms before collaborating with other fraudsters in closed groups, or peddling stolen wares in online marketplaces,” says Cohen.

“Social media’s scalability, anonymity and reach is providing cyber criminals with the perfect disguise; they can jump between accounts and devices at will, rarely using the same device twice. This makes it much easier to dodge the authorities and continue scamming. Reddit has recently banned a number of subreddits dedicated to fraud, where hackers were exchanging contacts, advertising services and sharing reliable sources of Dark Web fraud forums.”

RSA has provided a number of recommendations for consumers and businesses in light of these findings, which include practicing caution when downloading apps, avoiding clicking on links in texts or emails from unfamiliar senders, monitoring personal bank accounts, and staying on top of education.

“We all need to take a share of the responsibility for reducing and preventing fraud – from the consumer, through to the banks and social media platforms. After all, fraud is not going away any time soon and can be very costly, to individuals and businesses alike,” explains Cohen.

“We need to get better at spotting it, by being more aware of it. Social media and mobile devices have made it easier than ever for fraudsters to be successful, but there are often tell-tale signs that something is up. Stay vigilant and don’t always trust what you see online!”

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