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Fraud Report: Massive increase in Brand Abuse cyber attacks

Global e-commerce spending grew 28% annually to $4.2 trillion in 2020, paving the way for more fraudulent behaviour and more sophistication in attack types like Brand Abuse.

Brand abuse attacks fastest rising cyber attack

Brand Abuse attacks showing relentless growth

Backing this insight up, Outseer has published its latest quarterly fraud and payments report, uncovering a significant spike in brand abuse attacks and a continued shift to more precise payment authentication methods.

The report features insights from January through March of 2021 collected while authenticating consumer transactions and investigating threats on behalf of its customers.

According to the report, Brand Abuse attacks impersonating companies through social media and published content now represents the majority of fraud attacks, growing from 27% in Q4 2020 to 68% in Q1 2021.

This dramatic shift is attributed to the increased use of digital platforms including social media, web publishing, and cloud-based collaboration tools during the pandemic – all fertile hunting ground for fraudulent activity.

Phishing attacks designed to harvest user credentials represented 25% of all attack types for the quarter, followed by rogue mobile apps at 21%.

Although the share of rogue mobile apps decreased slightly from the previous quarter, it is worth noting that this attack type increased by 14% in the same quarter vs. 2020.

At just 7% of mix, Trojan Horse attacks injecting malware designed to harvest sensitive information and user credentials dropped again as threat actors have shifted fraud strategies to Brand Abuse.

Phishing and malware-based attacks continue to be the most prevalent online fraud tactics of the past decade. Phishing attacks not only enable online financial fraud, but these sneaky threats also chip away at our sense of security as they get better at impersonating legitimate links, messages, accounts, individuals and websites.

Similarly, Brand Abuse attacks and rogue mobile apps are designed to deceive by mimicking legitimate branded websites and apps.

Insights from the Q2 Fraud & Payments Report include:

  • Visibility into the more than 41,000 global cyber attacks
  • Brand Abuse attacks volume share increased from the same time last year by 58% to 68% of all attacks in Q1 2021
  • Phishing-based threats representing 25% of all attacks
  • The US accounts for 74% of all ISPs hosting phishing attacks
  • The US was targeted by 16% of worldwide phishing attacks, with Canada at 22%
  • The average value of fraudulent transaction in the web channel ($7,367) more than 2x the average value of a fraudulent transaction in the mobile channel ($3,368)
  • Worldwide payment transaction volume authenticated with EMV 3-D Secure protocol grew by 59% year-over-year (Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2021)
  • Worldwide payment transaction volume authenticated with the EMV 3-D Secure 2.0 protocol grew by 1667% year-over-year (Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2021)

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