Fraud on the decline but still hitting huge numbers

Cyber fraud and malware attacks are decreasing, but is this just the eye of the storm? With heavy shopping periods left in the year, cyber criminals are ready to strike again. Patrick Brusnahan reports

In Q3 2018, the RSA recorded a decline in fraud from the previous quarter. However, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, a sharp rise is expected.

At what level is the fraud threat currently? According to the RSA, there are a couple of trends of which the industry needs to be aware.

Phishing accounted for 50% of all fraud attacks observed but the RSA in Q3. Furthermore, Canada, the US, and the Netherlands were the top three countries most targeted by phishing. Overall, the three countries represented 69% of total attack volume.

Furthermore, one in nine phishing attacks targeted organisations in Latin America.

RSA detected 9,329 rogue apps which accounted for one-quarter of all fraud attacks in Q3. Fraud from mobile browsers and applications increased in Q3 2018 and accounted for 73% of total fraud transactions. Year-on-year, fraud from mobile apps increased 27%.

In addition, RSA received nearly 5.5 million unique compromised cards in Q3, an 8% increase from the previous quarter.

Fraud Attack Type Distribution

Target countries

Outside of the top three target countries for phishing, or even just outside of Canada, very few countries are over 1%. The top three countries remain the same from Q2 2018.

In terms of phishing hosts, Australia dropped from the top 10 hosting countries list and China got back on the list. This is despite only 2% of phishing attacks hosted there. The US remains the top country, hosting 48% of phishing attacks last quarter.

Top Phishing Target Countries

Mobile browsers and applications for over a year have exceeded 50% of total transactions, holding at 55% in Q3 2018. However, they also made up 73% of over fraud transactions in the same time period.

Year-on-year, fraud transaction on mobile applications increased 27% which displays the growing preference amongst fraudsters.

The biggest gap between the value of genuine transactions and fraud transactions was in Europe. Fraudulent transactions in Europe, on average, were 90% higher ($420) than the average genuine transaction. Furthermore, it was a 7% increase in the average fraud transaction value globally.

Average credit card transaction and fraud transaction 

What the report shows is that much more needs to be done to protect consumers from fraud, especially on mobile platforms. Cyber criminals and fraudsters are sneakily biding their time, but with Christmas coming in fast, they are set for a windfall if something is not done.