Mobile apps, the most used fraud method

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A security report warns on increasing criminal activity through fraudulent mobile apps

An undercover security unit infiltrated into cybercriminals groups has revealed an alarming increase in fraudulent transactions carried out through mobile apps.

The operation findings, published in the report of an ethical hacking firm, found that between April 1 and June 30, 2018, the fraudulent activity carried out through mobile browsers and applications constituted 71% of overall cybercrime operations, representing a 16% increase over the same length of time as the previous year.

The report also highlights the increase in fraudulent mobile apps, identifying 9.1k of these developments, which have become the most common vehicle for cybercrime, involving also the use of burner devices and fake accounts by the hackers.

Specialists in ethical hacking estimate that fraudulent transactions made through false accounts and burner devices contributed 27% of the total value of the profits generated by these criminals.

A burner device is the name given to a very low cost mobile phone that can be used temporarily until it is considered “burned”, which means it is too risky to use. These devices can be purchased with prepaid minutes and without any contract, allowing those who use them to easily hide their identity. This method of theft is particularly lucrative as seen in the report, indicating that, the value of a fraudulent operation ranges at an average of $335 USD.

During this operation, the undercover unit also recovered nearly 5.1 million of payment cards and previews of compromised cards hosted on fraudulent websites and other sources, representing an increase of 60% of information in front of that from last year.

The report also warns about variants of fraud that do not involve the intervention of more than one person (human-not-present fraud), highlighting how purchases on autonomous machines will lead to new authentication challenges for consumers, banking institutions and traders, who will have to change their security protocols to better manage emerging risks.

Specialists in ethical hacking from the International Institute of Cyber Security consider in the same way that in the short term there will be an increase in the type of cybercrime that does not necessarily require the act of a hacker, and organizations must behave at the level of the challenge.