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Some Things Never Change: Cybercriminals Go Where The Money Is

Intsights, a cyber threat intelligence company, recently released a report showing an increase in cybercrime targeting banking and credit card information.

The report found a 212 percent increase since last year in the number of compromised credit cards. In January 2019 alone, sets of leaked data called Collections #1-5 exposed two billion login credentials or personal information records.

The report also found that more than 25 percent of all malware attacks targeted banks and other financial services organizations, making the banking industry the number one target for cybercriminals. A new cyberthreat exploits the "SS7 flaws," a vulnerability that allows cybercriminals who have accessed a user's banking password to also steal the additional codes needed to log in and execute money transfers.

The report states, "Threat actors are using tactics like social media impersonation, malicious mobile applications, and phishing schemes to… leverage organizations' brands to trick users and run scams."

According to the report, credential leaks increased 129 percent and malicious apps increased 102 percent over the past year. ATM malware is also a major threat, with "organized cybercriminal groups installing payment card skimmers on ATMs around the world."  

Cisco Talos recently reported that it found 74 groups on Facebook, with a combined 385,000 members, that sell stolen credit card numbers and other credentials as well as hacking services. Zak Doffman "Cybercrime: 25% Of All Malware Targets Financial Services, Credit Card Fraud Up 200%" (Apr. 29, 2019). 


Most criminals turn to crime for financial reasons. Cybercrime targeting financial information will only continue to proliferate.  

Users who interact with financial institutions on behalf of their employers are the most vulnerable to phishing, which is the best way to install malware. In order to protect your organization's financial information, employees with access to your online bank accounts on phishing scam risks must understand phishing prevention steps.

Train employees that spam email is the main way cybercriminals spread phishing scams. Therefore, they should be suspicious of unexpected emails and look for signs that it is a phishing scam.

Phishing emails often contain manipulative language like ultimatums or threats that the user will be "permanently locked out" or have their account "cancelled" if they do not respond with personal information like account numbers, social security number, or passwords. Phishing emails also often contain misspelled words, poor grammar, and imbedded links. They may include an impersonal salutation like "Dear Facebook User" or an incorrect version of the recipient's name.

Train employees to be wary of emails or other online messages that threaten legal action; claim they are at risk; or say that they have won something. Teach them to type the organization's address into their web browser or do a search for the organization independent of the message instead of clicking on a link in the message.

Cybercriminals can also steal financial information through fraudulent websites. Phishing sites try to mimic the design of the legitimate organization's site, but may have slightly different fonts, colors, or not have the same information on the site. They may also often have a URL with unknown names contained within the address. Employees should confirm that the site shows the correct URL and a lock symbol before imputing information.

Sophisticated attacks, known as "spear phishing," use accurate information gathered from the target's social media, which makes the email sound and look even more convincing. Never share financial information in response to an email. Instead, contact the organization claiming to send the email using an independently listed number, not the number contained in the email, to ask if the email is legitimate.

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