The UK was the most attacked nation in the world in Q2 when it came to online fraud, with businesses there hit 50% more frequently than their US counterparts, according to the latest stats from ThreatMetrix.
The fraud prevention firm’s Digital Identity Network analyzed over three billion transactions globally during the period on behalf of 3000 customers and 15,000 websites to compile its latest figures.
They reveal UK firms to be more at risk from online fraud than anywhere else in the world.
ThreatMetrix senior director of strategy and product marketing, Vanita Pandey, argued that the figures reflect the fact that the UK is Europe’s financial capital and one of the world’s major business hubs.
“They face attacks from a range of cyber-criminals ranging from those working independently to organized crime rings to nation state crime organizations,” she told Infosecurity.
“On the other hand, the move to digital banking has been very rapid and the financial institutions have to adopt rapidly to meet the demands of the connected consumers.”
However, many of these banks still rely on first generation fraud prevention tools which use ‘browser fingerprinting’ – making them a prime target for cyber-criminals, she added.
“As a result, cyber-attacks are growing in size, complexity and risk.”
But the UK is also home to some of the world’s most prolific fraudsters, as the second highest originator of online fraud after the US.
Although many of these scams involve gangs operating trans-nationally, many require a local criminal – for example a money mule to receive the fraudulently obtained funds and transfer it overseas, explained ThreatMetrix EMEA solutions director, Stephen Moody.
“We see a clear trend globally that if you look at any country the majority (70%+) of the direct attacks come from within that country with the rest coming from surrounding and culturally related countries or big hubs such as the UK and US,” he told Infosecurity by email.
One of the major reasons why the UK is one such hub is that cybercrime gangs are more likely to have English skills than other languages and will therefore find it easier to attack and launch attacks from the country, Moody argued.
The report also found that online lending is becoming an increasingly popular sector for cybercriminals to target – particularly as it’s a “less secure channel for the unbanked and underbanked population,” according to Moody.