Brexit Uncertainty Helping to Ramp Up Fraud: Report

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The first quarter of 2017 saw 50% more fraud attempts originate in Europe than in the US, with the UK becoming a particular hotbed of fraud, according to ThreatMetrix.

The Q1 Cybercrime Report is based on real data from the fraud prevention firm’s Digital Identity Network, which analyzes 20 billion annual transactions supporting 30,000 websites.

In the first quarter of the year, it pointed to the UK and Netherlands as emerging fraud hotspots.

The UK saw attacks based from the country jump 30% year-on-year to 17 million, while in the Netherlands attacks grew 50%.

In Germany and France, there were up to 40% more fraudulent transactions than good ones during the period.

ThreatMetrix director Rebekah Moody blamed the uncertain geopolitical and financial regulatory situation as helping create the conditions for more fraud.

“It certainly feels like quite a unique and turbulent climate at the moment with a political position that many people did not expect, least of all big businesses. Couple this with the big changes to the payments landscape as we await PSD2 [the second Payment Services Directive] means we’re seeing a dramatic impact,” she told Infosecurity Magazine.

“Fraudsters are opportunists and they are preying on businesses that are shifting their focus towards moving offices and preparing new strategies for complying with PSD2 regulation. They see the potential to exploit this new environment with evolving and multifarious attacks.”

FinTech firms continue to be the most targeted in the financial services sector, perhaps foreshadowing an uptick in attacks once traditional bank account info is opened up to access by these firms following the PSD2, Moody added.

“This could potentially be the wake-up call – to watch carefully the impact of cybercrime on this key emerging market as we progress further down the path of Brexit and PSD2,” she concluded.

Overall, the quarter witnessed 130 million fraud attacks, 35% more than the previous year; with an additional 200 million bot attacks detected by ThreatMetrix filters.

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