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UK businesses are cybercriminals' first choice

UK businesses are the number one target for cyber criminals, a new study has shown.

Businesses on the Island are targeted more frequently than its UK counterparts. Local threats excluded, hackers from Nigeria, Germany, Mexico and the US are UK businesses’ biggest attackers.

According to a study published by security firm ThreatMetrix, criminals from the UK are the second highest originators of cybercrime attacks after the US.

The study is based on more than a billion transactions monitored each month by the company’s Digital Identity Network, Computer Weekly wrote in a report.

Online commerce has had a tough year. According to the report, fraudulent attacks rose 20 per cent in the second quarter of 2015. During that period, ThreatMetrix blocked 36 million fraud attempts, estimated to be worth £2 billion.

Account creation fraud was the highest risk, accounting for nearly 7 per cent of transactions blocked by ThreatMetrix, while account login risk was lower at 3 per cent.

But ThreatMetrix said that, because there are many times more login transactions processed, this represents a significant account takeover or hijacking risk.

Criminals targeting financial institutions are focused on the online lenders, the study says. Online lending is a rapid growth industry because it provides an easier way for the unbanked and underbanked to gain access to loans in a matter of days – making it a top target for cyber criminals.

“Online lending is a hotbed for fraud because it is a less secure channel designed for the unbanked and underbanked population an attractive target for attackers,” said Stephen Moody, European solutions director at ThreatMetrix.

“The more businesses and consumers turn to the digital space to store and manage their financial information, the greater the opportunity for fraudsters, and ensuring digital identities are effectively protected should be high priority for everyone,” he said.