Fraud Analysts Miss Dark Web Data

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New research into how financial crimes are investigated has found that the majority of fraud analysts at financial organizations do not gather evidence from the dark web. 

Web isolation platform provider Authentic8 today released the results of its 2020 Global Financial Crimes Survey, conducted in partnership with the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS).

The survey questioned 175 fraud analysts from 150 financial organizations about how financial corporations are handling increasing risks and exposure to losses as they battle against online adversaries.

When asked “Are you / your team researching and collecting evidence from the dark web?” 75% of fraud analysts answered "no." Nearly half (46%) said that they are not able to follow leads into the dark web but would collect more intelligence from the dark web and other toxic sources “if it could be done securely and with an audit trail.”

The need for zero exposure was recognized by 74% of fraud analysts, who agreed with the statement "We need to protect our IT infrastructure while browsing unsafe sites / malicious content." Nearly all (91%) of respondents said that anonymity while carrying out online investigations and research was "desirable or critical."

Over a quarter of respondents (28%) said that their biggest challenge in online investigations is completing training to keep up with evolving criminal threats and technological advances.

A key finding of the survey was that caseload productivity was an issue for many fraud analysts. Over half (57%) of those surveyed said that their productivity is the same or worse in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Almost all (90%) fraud analysts said that more investment in OSINT (open source intelligence) gathering capabilities was needed "to accelerate time-to-insight" for investigations.

“Adversaries are growing in both sophistication and number, but the surveyed firms are telling us the productivity of their fraud analysts is not improving at the same rate,” said Scott Petry, co-founder and CEO of Authentic8 Inc. 

“The imbalance leads to more risk exposure for financial firms and other regulated industries. They risk write-downs, legal penalties, damage to their brand reputations, and more."

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