Fifty percent more cyber crime originates from Europe than the US, according to a new study from ThreatMetrix.
In its Q1 2017 Cybercrime Report, the online security firm reveals that Europe is emerging as a global hub for cyber criminals, and that the largest economies there are targeting each other in what appears to be a cyber crime show of strength.
Hackers in Germany, France, Italy and the UK – which is one of the largest originators of cyber attacks on the planet – are routinely hitting targets in the US and other European nations, the report found.
ThreatMetrix Chief Products Officer Alisdair Faulkner said the EU’s borderless Schengen zone makes it easier to carry out cyber attacks than in US.
In the report, Faulkner notes that cyber crime is now global phenomenon involving well-organised criminal gangs that operate across borders, with knowledge sharing and centralised intelligence.
The ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network stopped the highest number of attacks on record in the first three months of 2017.
In all, the company detected and blocked 130 million hacking attempts over the course of the quarter, representing a 35% increase compared to the same period a year ago.
ThreatMetrix said the increase in the number of attacks outpaced overall transactions growth by 50%, demonstrating the heightened risk levels.
Vanita Pandey, Vice President of Product Marketing at ThreatMetrix, commented: “We saw a number of high-profile global breaches over the last year. Identities are being bought, sold, traded and augmented by criminals seeking to improve the success of their increasingly complex attacks.
“All of this points to one thing: Identities are the critical currency in cybercrime this year and it is up to businesses to look beyond static data to check that users are who they say they are.”
The study found the impact of stolen user credentials and the sophistication of cyber criminals was visible in the diverse threat levels and the high number of attacks involving stolen and spoofed credentials.
It also noted that the fintech sector is increasingly being hit with identity spoofing attacks that capitalise on the emergence of peer-to-peer loans, global remittance and potential loopholes in new and emerging payment platforms.
The company detected an 80% increase in digital wallet transactions year-on-year, as well as a 180% increase in associated bot attacks, typically used to mass test identity credentials.
“The complexity and speed of evolving attack vectors continues to take us by surprise. Fraudsters are operating within a much broader cyber crime landscape; one that shares knowledge, tools and exploits; trades information, tests and refines and constantly analyses the market for new opportunities,” Pandey said.
“Businesses must become the all-powerful lion to the fraudsters’ gazelle, outsmarting them with dynamic shared intelligence to genuinely understand online users’ unique digital identities.”