The number of account takeover (ATO) cases going to court in the UK climbed 57% in the first half of 2019 as cybercrime continues to professionalize, according to KPMG.
The consulting giant’s biannual Fraud Barometer report has been analyzing crime trends in the UK over the past 30 years, specifically major fraud cases being heard in Crown Courts, where charges top £100,000.
It claimed hackers are using a variety of techniques to grab personal identity data which then allows them to hijack victims’ online bank and credit card accounts: across email, SMS and mobile apps.
However, the law is slowly catching up – at least when it comes to bank account takeover.
“The Cyber-Attacks (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/956) entered into force in June, and requires banks to repay funds to customers stolen as a result of account takeover,” explained KPMG’s UK head of investigations, Roy Waligora. “Whilst this is a very positive step for the customer, we all need to remain vigilant as consumers will continue to bear such costs indirectly.”
ATO is also rife across consumers’ digital lives, of course, with hackers using phishing, credential stuffing and brute forcing techniques to crack everything from email inboxes to Uber and Netflix accounts.
The report also highlighted the continued commercialization of cybercrime, facilitated by the underground economy and dark web-based partnerships.
In one case, a Tyneside man was jailed for 28 months at Newcastle Crown Court after fronting a classic tech support scam designed to trick panicked users into handing over their bank account details.
Victims lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in the international campaign, which used India-based ‘call center’ scammers.
“Although awareness or cyber-criminality has increased, with a fifth of the public believing that cybercrime is the biggest challenge facing the UK today, this hasn’t been enough to stem the tide in account takeovers,” warned Rob Norris, VP enterprise and cybersecurity at Fujitsu.
“While potential attacks are not always easy to spot, a broader education on how to detect fraudulent emails is key not just to consumers’ own finances, but their employers as well; what a consumer intentionally or not exposes themselves to at home, they are also likely to do at work. The finances of consumers and success of businesses depend on this rigorous education.”