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Fraud attacks double as COVID-19 transforms the digital economy, reveals Arkose Labs

Wednesday 5 August 2020 12:10 CET | News

Arkose Labs has revealed new data showing the impact of the rapidly evolving nature of online fraud, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the press release, in the first half of 2020, the Arkose Labs network detected and stopped 1.1 billion attacks. This represents double the attack volume compared to the second half of 2019 and a 25% attack rate increase across all transactions.

Moreover, 21% of all attacks were on mobile transactions in the first half of 2020, the Arkose Labs Q3 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report revealed. The mobile attack mix varies significantly by industry, for example 15% of retail attacks were mobile, whereas 58% of attacks on technology platforms were through the mobile channel. Besides, 37% of all transactions originated from mobile devices, meaning that mobile attack rates are lagging transaction levels. Desktop is still the favoured option for cybercrime, with 79% of all attacks targeting desktop transactions.

With cross-border attacks operating across time zones and automated scripts running throughout the night, fraudsters' attacks don’t always align with the peak hours of legitimate consumers. Arkose Labs found that 5 AM (PT) is the most dangerous time of the day, with attack rates 10% higher than the average throughout the day.

Furthermore, fraudsters are quick to shift their focus and methods to align with ever-changing consumer behaviours. Therefore, the top targets for online fraud in Q2 of 2020 include:

  • Online gaming: This sector remains a prime target, with 65 attacks reported every second. Q2 saw a shift to human-driven attacks (41%) and the most attacked touchpoint was logins, which saw a 22% uptick in the volume of attacks compared to the previous quarter. In-game abuse attacks – such as real money trading – are also on the rise, with 58 million in-game abuse attacks detected in the first half of 2020 – a 60% increase compared to 2H 2019.

  • Finance and fintech: Attack levels on financial institutions in the Arkose Labs network rose notably in Q2, after an initial dip in April 2020. These attacks were primarily human-driven and focused on application fraud. 

  • Retail and travel: Businesses that have recently incorporated ecommerce in response to COVID-19 are particularly vulnerable to fraud. In Q2, one in five attacks were human-driven, and these largely targeted ecommerce sites, due to low traffic volumes in the travel sector. 

  • Technology: As a result of continued remote work, education and socialising, the technology industry witnessed an uptick in targeted attacks. There was a major swing towards human-driven attacks in Q2 (57%) and mobile attacks also increased, with 27% of attacks targeting mobile traffic.

In terms of regional attack rates, Europe was responsible for the most fraud in Q2, with 47% of all attacks originating from there. This represents a 62% rise in attack volumes for Europe. Additionally, 32% of global attacks originated from North America, a region that saw a 37% increase in attacks.


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Keywords: Arkose Labs, report, online fraud, COVID-19, cybercrime, retail, cross-border attacks, fraudsters, human-driven attacks, in-game abuse attacks, application fraud, mobile attacks, Europe, North America
Categories: Securing Transactions | Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Securing Transactions