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UK retailers expected to see dangerous spike in online criminal activity during peak Christmas shopping period

Published 18 November 2016

UK retailers are anticipated to see a dangerous spike in online criminal activity in the run up to Christmas 2016. According to recent data from ThreatMetrix.

More than 20 million cyber attacks are expected to target online retailers and shoppers in the UK alone, across the last quarter of the year.

Data revealed today in the Q3 2016 Cybercrime Report indicates the latest trends across the global threat landscape. This is based on analysis from the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network which protects more than 20 billion transactions across the globe every year.

2016 Festive Shopping Season Predictions:

  • 50 million global online attacks expected over Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping week.
  • Big retailers will see huge transaction peaks with up to 10 times the daily average on key shopping days.
  • 50 percent of ecommerce transactions will come from mobile as consumers use the convenience of mobile to make timely purchases.Attacks will be on transactions with a 70 percent higher than average ticket size.
  • Bot attacks predicted to equal legitimate ecommerce customer traffic during key attack spikes in the last quarter of the year; global retailers are currently experiencing 5 million bot attacks every day.
  • Predicted 60 percent increase in fraudulent ecommerce transactions in Q4 2016 compared to Q4 2015.

Aite Group research director Julie Conroy said: “The ThreatMetrix Q3 2016 Cybercrime Report does a good job of depicting the escalating cyber attacks that merchants and financial institutions must deal with. Add to this the fact that more consumers than ever will shop online this holiday season, and 2016 promises to be a banner year for fraudsters.

“It’s more important than ever for online merchants to employ technology that can help them effectively differentiate good customers from bad.”

Over the last 90 days, ThreatMetrix detected a huge 130 million attempted attacks, representing a 40 percent leap from the same quarter in 2015. This data strongly indicates that the final quarter of the year, in the run up to the Christmas holiday period, is likely to see more attacks on online business than ever before.

ThreatMetrix strategy and product marketing vice president Vanita Pandey said: “Fraudsters are using the holiday shopping period to target high value items, such as mobile technology, game consoles and consumer electronics.

“We’ve seen the types of attacks evolve in sophistication as cybercriminals become more targeted with their approach. We expect the number of fraudulent attempts on ecommerce sites to be 60 percent higher than the same period in 2015.”

IMRG members are making predictions that retailers will expand their deals and offers over a longer period of time this year.

However, the major shopping days between now and Christmas, including Black Friday on 25th November through to Cyber Monday on 28th November, are still expected to become a particular target for online criminals.

Highlights from Q3 2016 Cybercrime Report:

  • During what is traditionally a slow quarter, ThreatMetrix analysed nearly 5 billion transactions, and stopped approximately 130 million attacks in real time — a 40 percent increase over 2015.
  • Mobile transactions grew almost 50 percent over the previous year to represent 43 percent of total network traffic.
  • Cross-border transactions are also on the rise, representing one in five transactions in the Network. Despite their growth, these transactions are considered riskier than domestic transactions and rejected twice as much.
  • Q3 2016 saw 76 million blocked e-commerce transactions — a 60 percent increase over the third quarter 2015.

Source: Company Press Release