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New Accounts Have Highest Rate Of Cyberattacks
SAN JOSE, Calif., and NEW YORK (6/19/13)--New accounts have the highest rate of cyberattacks, with takeover attempts nearly twice that of accounts that are at least six months old, according to Web fraud data compiled by ThreatMetrix Inc.

The data were collected from 1,500 consumers, 9,000 websites and more than 1.7 billion cyberevents from ThreatMetrix's TrustDefender Cybercrime Prevention Platform and ThreatMetrix Global Trust Intelligence Network. The data included new account registration fraud, payment fraud and account takeovers.

Roughly one in every 10 user accounts opened online are originated by cybercriminals applying for new lines of credit, creating profiles on social networking or marketplace sites, and enrolling in authentication schemes, Metrix found. In a recent six-month snapshot ending March 31, attacks on new account registrations using spoofed or synthetic identities had the highest rate of attacks.  Next highest was account logins and payment fraud.

"Account registrations saw the highest rate of attack among the key customer engagement use cases," said Alisdair Faulkner, ThreatMetrix chief products officer.

"This isn't surprising in light of large scale data breaches recently highlighted by Symnatec in its Internet Security Threat Report 2013 and Verizon in its 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report.  These breaches underscore the relative ease of obtaining a person's full identity information sufficient enough to bypass most identity verification capabilities," Faulkner said in a ThreatMetrix blog.

Using botnets and malware, the cybercrooks bypass address-based filters. "The economic impact of these attacks varies by industry," he said, noting that the "common thread is that without automated visibility in the true device, persona, relationship and global behavior, the only alternative is additional verification roadblocks put in front of legitimate customers and extended review and hold-out periods."

What does this mean for credit unions? Take extra precautions with new accounts, especially new online banking accounts and step up verification procedures. And advise members to be extra cautious when making purchases or opening new accounts at vendor over the Internet.

Payments fraud attempts, including online credit card transactions and money transfers, rose to 6.4% from 3.1% during the six months studied, said ThreatMetrix. Faulkner cited these trends as factors:

  • Sophisticated credit card cybergangs adopting banking malware, normally used to hijack banking accounts, to steal full credit card information from consumers as a fake verification step when attempting to log into a bank or credit union account;
  • An increase in the percentage of digital goods sold within the company's customers and expansion of their businesses into new areas, including worldwide business; and
  • An increase in the adoption of Virtual Private Network (VPN) and platform-as-a-service services, which provide "ad hoc tunneling protocols." Cybercriminals favor VPNs because they can bypass blacklisted Internet provider blacklists on these networks.
Account takeover attempts during the period studied nearly doubled (168%). Although these attacks traditionally focused on banking and brokerage sites, they recently have escalated at e-commerce and software-as-a-service companies that store customer data, including credit card details.

ThreatMetrix also noted a rise in account takeovers using more sophisticated "blended" or multi-stage attacks to exploit companies without an integrated solution for malware, device identification and bot protection.

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