Group-IB, a global threat hunting and adversary-centric cyber intelligence company that specializes in investigating and preventing hi-tech cybercrimes, has released a comprehensive analysis of fraud schemes on a global scale.
In total, fraud accounts for 73% of all online attacks: 56% are scams (deceit resulting in the victim voluntary revealing sensitive data) and 17% are phishing attacks (bank card details theft). By using patented Digital Risk Protection (DRP)technologies, Group-IB experts detected over 70 scam groups employed only in one of the fraudulent schemes, Classiscam, 36 of which target Europe. It was established that in one year Classiscam threat actors alone swindled users out of €7,750,000.
On June 10, during the Digital Risk Summit 2021 online conference (Amsterdam), Group-IB presented its research into various fraudulent schemes, obtained thanks to neural networks and ML-based scorings of Group-IB Digital Risk Protection system. Group-IB also revealed Scam Intelligence, a fraudster tracking technology that has laid the foundations for DRP, the company’s proprietary solution. In one year, the system helped save €363 million for companies in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East by preventing potential damages.
The number of scam- and phishing-related violations detected by Group-IB in Europe in 2020 grew by 39% year-on-year. Probes into threat actor scam activities worldwide by DRP helped categorize fraud schemes, with over 100 basic schemes and their modifications detected. For instance, a scheme with fake brand accounts on social media (typical for the financial sector) involved on average over 500 fake accounts per bank in 2020. Insurance companies worldwide, meanwhile, suffer from phishing. Over 100 phishing websites per insurer were created last year on average.
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In 2020, a multi-stage fraud scheme called Rabbit Hole, which abused companies’ brands, mostly targeted the retail sector and online services. Users received a link from friends, through social media, or in messengers with a suggestion to participate in a prize draw, promotional offer, or survey. On average, users made 40,000 visits to fraudulent websites daily. Rabbit Hole attacked the customers of at least 100 brands worldwide. The threat actors strive to steal personal and bank-card data.
Classiscam has been the most wide-spread scam globally during the pandemic. The scheme targets people who use marketplaces and services relating to property rental, hotel bookings, online bank transfers, online retail, ride-sharing, and delivery. The scheme aims to extort money as a payment for non-existent goods.
At least 44 countries, including Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK, have been targeted by Classiscam. According to Group-IB,93 brands overall have been abused as part of Classiscam. In early 2021, more than 12,500 threat actors made money through fake delivery service resources. The overall number of websites involved in the scheme reached 10,000. One Classiscam threat group makes up to € 97,000 per month.
“Last year, the world was hit by scamdemic, which stands for the influx of online scams during the pandemic on a scale never seen before: if your company is successful and well-known, it’s just a matter of time when scammers have their eye on it,” says Dmitry Tiunkin, Group-IB DRB Head, Europe. “Digital risks for brands such as online scams, illegal sales of products and services, and intellectual property infringements are the most wide-spread crimes on the Internet. Group-IB DRP system grants analysts with a tool for uncovering scam actor’s entire infrastructure and learning about various categories of scams that might target their organizations. Group-IB DRP helps our customers to establish the identity of the person behind the wrongdoing, gather as much information about them as possible and bring them to justice.”