10 Cybercrime Trends in Streaming, Social Media & Gaming
Posted March 15, 2019
Our latest cybercrime report finds that online content streaming, social media platforms and other online media offerings are growing increasingly popular worldwide—especially among cybercriminals.
In fact, according to the new H2 2018 Cybercrime Report from ThreatMetrix, the media industry was hit by 211 million bot attacks in the second half of the year—a 16% increase in just six months. Furthermore, this industry, which includes social networks, content streaming, gaming and gambling, still ranks highest among all industries in new account creation attacks.
Today, 1 in 6 new account creations in this industry are fraudulent, driven by the industry’s status as a perfect testbed for stolen identity credentials used in multiple, networked crimes.
The report, which tracks actual cyberattacks within the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network from July 1 through to December 31, 2018, is viewed as a trusted barometer of cyberattack trends worldwide. It finds that rapidly evolving cyberattack patterns may have media organizations playing a troubling role within a cybercrime economy expected to cost businesses $5.2 trillion in global losses by 2021.
Here’s a look at 10 key findings in the report:
1. Online Media: The Gateway to the Digital World
The online media industry increasingly represents a gateway to digital transactions, either for young adults signing up to gaming, social media, and content streaming sites, or for those new to digital transactions in emerging and growth economies. As a result, online media sees a higher proportion of new account creations than any other industry today, with cybercriminals increasingly viewing the industry as a lucrative target for the monetization of stolen identity credentials.
2. Content On Demand
Interestingly, online media is slightly less mobile than financial services, with 49% of all media transactions originating from a mobile device. As with eCommerce, however, this is primarily driven by fewer account logins via mobile – indicating how consumers seem to prefer consuming content from the bigger screens of a desktop, but are more than happy to open new accounts and make payments via mobile.
3. #1 in Account Creation Attacks
Due to low barriers of entry and generally less stringent security measures, account creation attacks are more prevalent than in any other industry, with media accounts a prime target for identity testing attacks. In these attacks, cybercriminals leverage stolen identity credentials to open fraudulent accounts so they can access content, take advantage of free trials, propagate fake news, commit bonus abuse, and more. Today, the attack rate for these crimes stands at 16%—up 14% in six months.
4. Prime Target: Spoofing Reigns Supreme
When it comes to spoofing, media transactions are more susceptible to these kinds of attacks than any other of the core industries. Device spoofing accounts for 11% of all media transactions, with identity spoofing and IP spoofing making up 10% and 5% of media transactions, respectively. Today, 1 in 10 transactions in this sector involve fraudulent identity, again reinforcing the fact that cybercriminals regard media as a perfect testbed for stolen identity credentials.
5. A Barrage of Bots
The industry was hit by 211 million bot attacks in the last six months of 2018, an increase of 16% in comparison to the first half of the year. Many attacks were launched from Asia, demonstrating the global propagation of stolen identity data. These bots are primarily used to test huge lists of stolen credentials or credit card data. Given comparatively light security measures, media organizations are often seen as a soft target for this activity.
6. Networked Cybercrime Fueling Fraud
The ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network is seeing a rise in networked cybercrime, in which the same recognized digital identities are associated with confirmed fraud attempts on more than one organization or industry. The strongest correlation is for organizations within the same industry, particularly banking, gaming and gambling, lending and retail. However, some strong patterns have emerged showing shared fraud within different industry groups, such as between media streaming and retail. These patterns of shared fraud underscore the need for organizations to leverage global, pseudo-anonymized digital identity intelligence to recognize and reject transactions from fraudsters.
7. Regional Trends Point to Trouble Spots
The report highlighted interesting regional trends, in addition to industry-wide statistics. In North America, for instance, new account creation attack rates have grown 45% year-on-year, while in Australia-New Zealand (ANZ) they’ve surged 259% overall, rising to 330% for new account creations on mobile. In Southeast Asia, meanwhile, new account creation transactions have also experienced significant growth in attacks, specifically in the last six months, with attacks growing 48% overall and 114% for mobile transactions.
8. Consumers: Keep it Seamless & Safe
Despite these and other threats, consumers expect the organizations they do business with to keep them safe. However, consumers also do not expect fraud and identity controls to interfere with the low-friction customer experience they have come to expect from their favorite online media platforms.
9. Behavioral Analysis Delivering Stronger Results
In the face of all this, we may see a stronger shift toward behavioral biometrics and analysis for continuous user authentication, as organizations discover that passive risk assessment spanning onboarding, login, and account management delivers more accurate insights for identifying high-risk activities. For some, this will help detect and disrupt bot attacks designed to mimic human behavior.
10. A Media Must-Have: Layered Defenses
In fact, as cyberattacks intensify, look for savvier media organizations to deploy multiple layers of digital identity-based defenses spanning modern fraud detection, identity assessment, and authentication backed by global identity and threat intelligence to achieve real-time protection against rapidly-evolving threats without adding friction to the customer experience. As attacks proliferate, organizations that don’t implement such solutions may see customers defect to those that do.
To learn more about cybercrime attacks against online media organizations and how to defend against them, download a copy of the H2 2018 Cybercrime Report from ThreatMetrix.