Online retailers braced for biggest cybercrime Christmas of all time

Author

Rebecca Burn-Callander

November 16, 2015

Cybercrime to peak during Christmas shopping season, with 45m online attacks attempted in last three months alone

British retailers will lose millions of pounds to online fraudsters this Christmas, an anti-cybercrime organisation has warned, as hackers continue to ramp up attacks .

Over the past 90 days, ThreatMetrix, which authenticates transactions on behalf of 4,000 customers across the world, has detected 45m attempted attacks against online retailers, a 25pc increase on the previous quarter.

The company, which analyses 1bn transactions each month, has warned that the festive period will attract more attempted hacks than ever before.

There is an ongoing cat and mouse game between cybercriminals and businesses
ThreatMetrix chief products officer Alisdair Faulkner

Black Friday, which will take place on November 27, and Cyber Monday, on November 30, will be “a particular target for online criminals”, it said.

Last year, ThreatMetrix logged 11.4m fraudulent transaction attempts during the holiday shopping period, which runs from Thursday through to Christmas.

This year it has predicted that the number of attempted hacks will double.

The stark warning lands in the wake of several high-profile cyber-attacks on British companies.

Earlier this month, telecoms giant TalkTalk suffered a security breach, which exposed the personal details of more than 150,000 customers.

In October, Vodafone said that nearly 2,000 customer accounts had been accessed by hackers, potentially providing criminals with customers’ names, mobile numbers, bank sort codes and the last four digits of their bank accounts.

Earlier this year, hackers bombarded Carphone Warehouse with online traffic as a smokescreen while they stole the personal and banking details of 2.4m people.

“The third quarter yielded record numbers in attack attempts,” said Vanita Pandey, senior director, strategy and product marketing at ThreatMetrix.

“The ultimate victims are the consumers whose digital identities are increasingly compromised with each subsequent breaches.

“Cybercriminals don’t sleep when it comes to attacks – the majority of the attempts we saw were in the e-commerce space and retailers must stay on their toes when it comes to protecting digital identities during what is sure to be the largest digital season to date for online and mobile transactions.”

This new report, which has dubbed the coming festive season as “Cybercriminal Christmas”, warned that hackers were using multiple data points to gain access to websites, including account creations, payment transactions and account logins.

While there were 45m attempted attacks on the retail sector alone, the total number of attempts including other industries such as financial services topped 90m.

“There is an ongoing cat and mouse game between cybercriminals and businesses,” said ThreatMetrix chief products officer Alisdair Faulkner.

“We are living in a dystopian post-breach world where our trusted and established paradigms are fast changing.”

He said that as more consumers access the internet from their mobile devices to make purchases on the move, they are “leaving digital footprints for cybercriminals to exploit”.

Cyber crime is now officially the country’s most common offence. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) included it in its data for the first time last month, driving up the overall number of crimes in England and Wales by 107pc .

This article was written by Rebecca Burn-Callander from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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