New reports from Visa highlight the importance of cybersecurity amid ongoing threats
Whether in person or online, cybercriminals target payment touchpoints with sophisticated fraud techniques
SAN FRANCISCO, October 6, 2022—(BUSINESS WIRE)–Visa Inc. (NYSE:V), the global leader in digital payments, today shared an updated overview of fraud developments since the height of the pandemic, with criminals simultaneously targeting online and offline vulnerabilities as our daily lives return to a mix of in-person and e-commerce.
“As in-person commerce returns to pre-pandemic levels, fraudsters are returning to exploiting physical points of vulnerability in stores, while continuing to capitalize on e-commerce through malware, ransomware and phishing attacks, among others,” said Paul D Fabara, Director of Risk at Visa. “Indeed, we continue to see high rates of spying, rising above the already high levels of winter 2021, where fraudsters are increasing personal activity.”
Two new surveys: Visa’s latest semi-annual threat report and the MIT Technology Review Insights study “Moving Money in the Digital World,” published today in collaboration with Visa, highlight new and recurring threats to the post-pandemic economy.
While fraud at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was concentrated on online scams, in-person attacks are now on the rise as criminals expand their scope to once again target physical targets. The past year has seen an increase in card threats such as physical tapping at ATMs and point-of-sale terminals, a trend that is likely to continue. For example, from June to November 2021, Visa saw a 176% increase in the number of physical spying devices in the last 12 months.1
Digital commerce and cryptocurrency users are preferred targets for innovative fraudsters
However, the digital commerce environment, greatly accelerated by the pandemic, remains the most important target for cybercriminals.
Nearly three-quarters of fraud and data breach cases investigated by Visa’s global risk team involved e-commerce merchants, mostly social engineering and ransomware attacks. Digital eavesdropping attacks targeting e-commerce platforms and third-party code integrations are common.
These attacks highlight the need for tight security controls on merchant websites and billing sites, ensuring that external code is not activated in sensitive cardholder environments. In fact, 42% of respondents to the MIT Technology Review Insights report said that security measures are important to their customers, and 59% admit that cybersecurity threats are the biggest challenge to the spread of digital payments. Many prioritize advanced security features such as digital tokens (32%), artificial intelligence and improved authorization (43%).
In addition to traditional currency attacks, threat actors are using new tactics to defraud cryptocurrency users, including new malware that focuses on browser extension wallets for cryptocurrency users, as well as innovations in phishing and social engineering schemes. Bridge encryption services are also targeted. From January to February 2022, three major heists exploiting vulnerabilities in different bridge services netted cyber thieves more than $400 million.two
Protection is the Visa promise
While cybercrime persists, Visa has increased its efforts to mitigate fraud. Over the past five years, Visa has invested more than $9 billion in network security. Visa employs more than 1,000 dedicated professionals who protect your network from malware, zero-day attacks and insider threats 24x7x365. Visa also applies AI-enabled capabilities and always-on experts to protect its ecosystem by proactively detecting and preventing billion-dollar fraud attempts. In fact, Visa’s real-time AI monitoring blocked more than $4.2 billion in fraudulent payments over the past 12 months, preventing many from knowing they were at risk of a potential fraudulent transaction.
To learn more about the Payment Fraud Interruption Report, visit the Semi-Annual Threat Report (visa.com). To read the full MIT Technology Review Insights report “Moving Money in a Digital World”, visit Moving money in a digital world | MIT Technology Review.
Visa (NYSE: V) is a global leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payment network, enabling people, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone, wherever they are, lift everyone up wherever they are, and we see access as key to the future of currency movements. Learn more at Visa.com.
1 Visa Worldwide Risk Investigations, from June to November 2021
two Semi-annual report on stopping visa fraud
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Meg Omecene, 412-713-4539