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20 Percent Increase in Global Cybercrime Attacks, with the UK Topping the List of Most Attacked Countries in the World

Posted September 13, 2015

British Businesses Attacked 50% More Frequently Than U.S. Organizations. Online Lenders, in Particular, Have Become a Key Target.

September 9, 2015, London – New data released today by ThreatMetrix®, the fastest-growing provider of context-based security and advanced fraud prevention solutions, has revealed that businesses in the UK are more at risk of being attacked by cybercrime than any other country in the world. The UK was found to be the second highest originator of cyber attacks, after the United States. It was also a big target globally where – apart from local threats – Nigeria, Germany, U.S. and Mexico lead the way in attacking the UK.

The ThreatMetrix® Digital Identity Network (The Network), which analysed more than three billion transactions during a three month period, detected and stopped more than 75 million cyberattacks in real time across the globe. Online commerce worldwide has been particularly badly hit, where fraudulent attacks rose 20 percent in the second quarter of the year to reach 36 million fraud attempts stopped. ThreatMetrix estimated the losses to online business could have reached as high as £2billion if the transactions were allowed to go through.

Account creation fraud was the highest risk, as nearly 7% of transactions monitored were blocked by the ThreatMetrix. Account logins were the most popular (80%) source of fraud, but considerably less risky, with just 3% blocked. The same percentage of payments were stopped as fraudulent.

Online Lenders Become a Key Target for Cybercriminals

The report has also found that cybercriminals targeting financial institutions are particularly focused on the online lending space. Attacks spiked significantly during this period and focused primarily on new accounts originations and payment disbursements. Online lending is seen as an easier way for the unbanked and underbanked to gain access to loans in a matter of days—and it’s taking off, making it a top target for cybercriminals. For example, Zopa, a major UK peer-to-peer lender, has issued £829 million in loans since they started ten years ago.

“Online lending is a hotbed for fraud because it is an insecure channel and targets the unbanked and underbanked population in developing countries —which tends to be a big target for attackers,” said Dr Stephen Moody, Solutions Director, ThreatMetrix EMEA. “The more businesses and consumers turn to the digital space to store and manage their financial information, the more fraudsters will be on high alert—ensuring digital identities are effectively protected should be high priority for everyone.”

Cybercrime is a well organised global phenomenon with criminals fast adopting new technologies and tactics to attack businesses. With their sophisticated technology and strong knowledge sharing across organised crime rings, nation states and decentralised cyber gangs, these cybercriminals continue to attack traditional and non-traditional sources of consumer data to stitch together identities that can exploited.

Ever Increasing Mobile Usage Spurs Attacks

Mobile now makes up one-third of all transactions analysed by ThreatMetrix and is the biggest emerging opportunity and risk for businesses and financial institutions trying to deliver frictionless experiences to their customers. Mobile usage continues to grow, accounting for up to 31 percent of transactions. With more than 20 million new mobile devices being added to The Network every month, this trend is expected to continue.

“The more mobile transactions you have, the more opportunities will arise for fraudsters to conduct spoofing attacks or identity theft by increasingly impersonating other devices to facilitate attacks,” said Moody. “With consumers constantly on the go, they prefer iPhones over iPads after work hours and on the weekends, indicating that are more likely to conduct transactions and submit payments that can compromise their digital footprints.”

Other key findings and relevant statistics

  • In Q2 the UK has experienced a spike in fraud attacks for eCommerce
  • Financial services attacks have remained steady in the UK and attacks on the media industry saw a fall compared to Q1, although still at a very elevated rate of 11.4% of transactions, which is significantly higher than rates in the U.S. (5.45%)
  • India and the Dominican Republic emerged in the top 5 attack originators for this period
  • Despite the growth of global commerce, cross-border transactions declined at a higher rate than domestic transactions
  • Cybercrime surges on the backs of bots and data breaches
  • Trust is critical for conversion and customer loyalty as both financial institutions and retailers strive to establish strong relationships with their users
  • To learn more, download the “ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report: Q2 2015” eBook or visit the Real-Time Threat Map

Media Contacts

Sophie Brown
+44 (0)7919 098 893

About ThreatMetrix

ThreatMetrix offers market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions leveraging a global shared digital identity network and real-time, customer-driven analytics platform. These solutions help customers differentiate between trusted users and potential fraud resulting in reduced friction, incremental revenue and lower fraud and operational costs.

ThreatMetrix secures customers against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations resulting from malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Digital Identity Network, which analyzes billions of transactions and protects hundreds of millions of active user accounts across tens of thousands of websites and mobile applications. The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit or call 1-408-200-5755.

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© 2015 ThreatMetrix. All rights reserved. ThreatMetrix, TrustDefender ID, TrustDefender Cloud, TrustDefender Mobile, TrustDefender Client, the TrustDefender Cybercrime Protection Platform, ThreatMetrix Labs, and the ThreatMetrix logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of ThreatMetrix in the United States and other countries. All other brand, service or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or owners.


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