The Cyber Threats Hiding Beneath the Surface

“The battle between the ‘good guys’ and the cybercriminals will continue to intensify with consumers’ personally identifiable information in the wild.”

That’s the perspective of Alisdair Faulkner, Chief Products Officer for ThreatMetrix.

A perspective that is well grounded.

The 2014 holiday shopping season was a record-breaking one in terms of online transactions, with “Cyber Monday” online sales exceeding $2 billion for the first time in history – and a significant portion of that total came from transactions utilizing mobile devices. And as that usage expands, so does the rate of attacks on it.

Those are the findings of the latest ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report, which is based on incidents detected by the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network between October 2014 and March 2015. Among the representative key market trends, the ThreatMetrix report identified 4 key insights:

  • Trust is critical for conversion and customer loyalty. 74 percent of holiday transactions originated from existing accounts as consumers returned to their favorite merchants.
  • Impersonation (“spoofing”) attacks continue to rise driven by the billions of breached identities in the wild and the prevalence of crimeware tools. ThreatMetrix identified more than 11.4 million fraud attempts during peak holiday shopping periods.
  • Mobile usage continues to grow, accounting for up to 31 percent of transactions. With more than 20 million new mobile devices being added to the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network every month, this trend is expected to continue.
  • More Android devices were identified this period compared to before. ThreatMetrix expects this trend to continue as emerging markets increasingly do business via more affordable Android devices. Despite more Android devices being added, iOS devices accounted for two-thirds of mobile transactions.

The Q1 ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report dives further into details related to three major categories: Transactions & Attacks, Top Attack Methods, and Mobile.



The report analyzes attack origins by geography, including the Top 5 attack originations and target countries. Transactions are analyzed by industry, across the eCommerce, financial services and media sectors.


Top attack origins by Geographies

In this category, the Q1 ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report takes a look at the top attack vectors – based on analysis of more than 11.4 million fraud attempts during peak holiday shopping (November– December 2014) – as well as the top attack methods, which were analyzed in real time by the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network.



In terms of mobile transaction prevalences, the report examines how emerging markets show a rapid uptake of mobile phone ownership and usage of mobile services.

It shares that mobile device-based commerce represented nearly one third of the total analyzed, and continues to grow across industries and transaction types.

As mobile transactions are growing — the report examines in detail — so are the attacks targeted toward mobile devices and platforms

The study compares mobile vs. desktop transactions and attacks, meting out that the growth of mobile and the prevalence of stolen identities in the wild is causing an uplift in mobile attacks.

Additionally, the study examines the various transaction trends that are affected by the expansion in mobile usage, as more and more customers are switching to mobile to access content, conduct commerce transactions and buy products and services.


To get the full insights into cyber threat and fraud trends that are hiding among – and hurting – your legitimate customers, click the link below.