Security & Fraud

Hacker Tracker: Money-making Ransomware, Gmail Phishing, CNP Fraud On The Rise

Ransomware Scores Big

Data is truly lucrative.

Which may explain why hackers have made cyber-ransom a go-to attack tool when they are looking to score big. In this week’s Hacker Tracker, Radware shares its global cybersecurity research on what’s really motivating cybercriminals, a Gmail phishing attack targets savvy users and the U.S.’s card-not-present fraud situation may get worse before it gets better.

Money On The (Cybercriminal) Brain

Above all else, hackers are all about the money.

New research from cybersecurity and application delivery solutions provider Radware revealed that the top motivation behind cyberattacks is ransom, followed by insider threats, political hacktivism and competition.

The biggest challenge in combating cyber ransom, Radware’s Global Application & Network Security Report 2016-2017 report noted, is that ransom is not only easy, but also every attack has its own vector, technique or angle.

With hundreds of encrypting malware types available to cybercriminals today, the individuals perpetrating these malicious attacks are able to leverage various networks and applications to demonstrate their power and capabilities.

“One thing is clear: Money is the top motivator in the threat landscape today,” Carl Herberger, VP of security solutions at Radware, explained. “Attackers employ an ever-increasing number of tactics to steal valuable information, from ransom attacks that can lock up a company’s data, to DDoS attacks that act as a smoke screen for information theft, to direct brute force or injection attacks that grant direct access to internal data.

“Our report shows that most organizations are still not prepared to fend off many of the more sophisticated attacks. There is a vast market for mitigating attacks in progress and for defending against threats, both new and established, that grow in severity by the day. From our Emergency Response Team to our extensive products and services, Radware stands ready to guard organizations’ data, systems, and customers from harm,” Herberger continued.

Last year saw a significant surge in the number of extortion threats, with the majority (56 percent) of the 600 organizations surveyed by Radware admitting that they have fallen victim to a cyber ransom attack and 41 percent identifying ransomware as the biggest cyber threat.

Gmail Users Get Fooled

In many cases, experienced or tech savvy users can spot a phishing email scam from a mile away.

Whether it’s the Nigerian Price asking for help or an obviously spoofed email from a well-known retailer, it can be hard for scammers to pull the wool over the eyes of people who are familiar with their schemes.

But a new phishing campaign targeting Gmail accounts is tricking even the most experienced of users.

The attack, Forbes reported, employs fairly sophisticated automation to swiftly take over newly-compromised accounts as soon as a victim submits his or her password.

After gaining access to a compromised account, the criminals begin gathering information in order to launch secondary attacks across the victim’s network. The "highly effective" scam tricks users into divulging their account login credentials by sending a message disguised as a trusted contact with an attachment, something that isn’t very out of the ordinary.

That attachment actually contains an image that looks like a PDF — but instead of opening into a preview like a normal file, it links to a fake Google account login page. The dubious sign-in page looks authentic but steals credential information and passes it directly to the cybercriminals. The only indication that the page isn’t legitimate is the browser’s address bar on the page has a URL preceded by the prefix "data:text/html."

CNP Frauds Shows No Signs Of Slowdown

If cyber thieves are good at anything, it’s being able to use both technology and stolen payment card data to defraud retailers around the world at an increasingly alarming rate.

As a result, card-not-present (CNP) fraud is on the rise.

The latest findings of Research and Markets, titled Card-Not-Present Fraud: The Merchant Empire Strikes Back, eCommerce merchants, particularly in the U.S., are in a perfect storm of rapid online sales growth at the same time that the credit card industry is continuing to transition to EMV chip technology.

Those trends leave the merchants vulnerable to CNP fraud. The researchers pointed to the breaches of payment card data at major retailers including Target and Home Depot during the last few years as providing the bad guys with a treasure trove of millions of cardholders’ data that is still being used by thieves to commit this type of fraud.

“Despite anticipating that fraudsters would transition to online attacks once counterfeit card fraud at the point of sale was reduced through the EMV chip, U.S. payment card networks and issuers, payment providers, merchants and cardholders are now asking, “What can we do about the increase in CNP fraud?,” Research and Markets wrote. “In response, an industry of technology developers providing solutions to combat CNP fraud has emerged to give online merchants the means to strike back.”

According to a reported issued by ACI Worldwide late last year, CNP fraud attempt rates are expected to increase by 12 percent by volume. ACI said fraud is moving more online partly because of the adoption of EMV chip cards in the U.S. The study also found fraudsters are targeting cosmetics, cordless headphones, sneakers and other lower-priced items that can be resold on the black market or through auction websites.



About: Accelerating The Real-Time Payments Demand Curve:What Banks Need To Know About What Consumers Want And Need, PYMNTS  examines consumers’ understanding of real-time payments and the methods they use for different types of payments. The report explores consumers’ interest in real-time payments and their willingness to switch to financial institutions that offer such capabilities.

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