According to the latest cybercrime statistics, more than 210 million attempted fraud attacks occurred during the first quarter of this year, representing a 62 percent increase from 2017.

In its “Q1 2018 Cybercrime Report,” ThreatMetrix reported a record volume of 1 billion bot attacks, 100 million of which came from mobile device users. These campaigns primarily targeted e-commerce merchants. In fact, the report suggested that e-commerce transactions are 10 times riskier than those in a more traditional financial services setting.

Cybercrime Statistics Indicate Increasing Sophistication of Fraud Attacks

The rising use of bots may reflect the increasing sophistication of attacks involving fraudulent online payments and the creation of phony new accounts, according to ThreatMetrix. For example, there were 150 million rejected transactions over the course the quarter, representing an 88 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Bots are being used to launch account validation attacks, test passwords on good user accounts and more.

The report noted that cybercriminals are also evolving in terms of the frequency, complexity and duration of attacks. In some cases, high-volume attacks are being conducted over sustained periods of days or even weeks, as opposed to the shorter, more isolated incidents that have been detected in the past.

The authors admitted, however, that there are still unanswered questions about attack volumes since some victims may be slow to discover, contain and report breaches.

E-Commerce Fraud: A Global Threat

It’s no wonder that cybercriminals are focusing on e-commerce, the study noted, given that merchants are trying to strike the right balance between providing a streamlined user experience and protecting customers’ information. The report revealed that payment attacks represented only 3.6 percent of incidents. Incidents occurring during the login and account creation stages, meanwhile, accounted for 13.5 and 32.8 percent of attacks, respectively.

While the U.S., U.K. and other large European countries have traditionally been the top regions in terms of attack origins, ThreatMetrix reported an increase in activity from smaller growth economies, such as Russia and Vietnam. In other words, as the world becomes more digital, the work of cybercriminals and bots is becoming equally global in scope.

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