Cybercrime Is Very Real

But there are ways to mitigate it and prevent becoming a victim

Here are some statistics that should worry you. In Q2 this year, the Asia Pacific region saw a 45% growth in cybercrime year-on-year. Globally, it has increased by nearly 100% since 2015. A main cause is the spike in new account origination fraud, which has gone up by 30% since Q1.

These were revealed in a report released recently by ThreatMetrix, a security technology company. The bad news is emerging digital business models such as ridesharing apps and media streaming organisations are bearing the brunt of these attacks. The good news is there is a way to manage them.

One sector that has seen a dramatic impact is the media industry, with a 527% increase in new account origination attacks. Vanita Pandey, vice president of product marketing and strategy at ThreatMetrix, attributes it to the rapid growth.

“Media companies have easy sign up requirements that allow users to sign up for services at very low, or even no cost, which makes the companies ideal targets for testing credentials obtained from the dark web,” says Pandey.

“At the same time, the freemium model that many of these companies operate is also targeted by fraudsters to game the system, either taking up multiple free trials or selling accounts online at a reduced rate.”

Disruptive mobile-heavy industries too are particularly susceptible to being victims. Pandey points to two factors: The new opportunities those companies offer to fraudsters to monetise their services, and the increased data footprint that fraudsters can mine.

One of the key differentiators for mobile-first companies is the easy user experience delivered by their apps, as well as fast delivery time to market. The result is rapid adoption across the globe. Unwittingly, customers use their mobile devices to access these services and leave behind rich digital footprints that the fraudsters can exploit.

“In fact, fraudsters are continually using unsecured wireless networks to intercept user credentials, encouraging users to download hacked versions of legitimate applications from third party stores, or looking for ways to intercept personal information that can be inadvertently leaked by legitimate mobile applications. As such, mobile-heavy industries are most likely to be hackers’ targets,” shares Pandey.

But there is hope yet. Here she shares tips on how to mitigate the problem.

For Organisations

· Companies can deploy security solutions, such as the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network, to help them differentiate good customers from fraudsters.

· Given that fraud is always evolving, it is crucial for companies to constantly monitor customers’ transactions and engagement to look for anomalies and changing behavior.

· Most identity data is compromised in a post-breach world, hence companies should leverage dynamic digital identity intelligence, which consists of global shared intelligence from millions of daily consumer interactions, to prevent potential fraud loss in real-time.

For Individuals

· Password security has always been overlooked and weak passwords are usually preferred by users due to convenience. Users should always avoid sharing password with others, and ensure their passwords are strong.

· They can monitor their own usage or activities, such as credit card transactions and sign-in history, to identify unauthorised access.

· Users should also be on the lookout for some common attacks such as social engineering and phishing scams.


Written by
Low Shi Ping believes that everyone has a story to tell. It is what underscores the freelance writing work she does, whether it is for the media or content development projects. She realised this while spending the past decade working for different magazines and organisations including The Peak and Mercurio Design Lab. When not discovering the latest restaurants and cafes around Singapore, she enjoys doing vinyasa flows at the yoga studio where she practices.

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