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The LexisNexis Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report Reveals New Opportunities and Risks for Latin America in Online Channels During Global Pandemic

Findings from the first half of 2020 highlight that Latin America experienced the highest cyberattack rates of any global region

09/15/2020

ATLANTA — LexisNexis® Risk Solutions today released its biannual Cybercrime Report, which tracks global cybercrime activity from January 2020 through June 2020. The report analyzes how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global digital economy, regional economies, industries, businesses and consumer behavior. The period has seen strong transaction volume growth compared to 2019 but an overall decline in global attack volume. This is likely linked to growth in genuine customer activity due to changing consumer habits.

The LexisNexis Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report analyzes data from more than 22.5 billion transactions processed by the LexisNexis® Digital Identity Network®, a 37% growth year over year. Mobile device transactions also continue to rise, with 66% of all transactions coming from mobile devices in the first half of 2020, up from 20% in early 2015. The Digital Identity Network® also notes an uptick in transactions from new devices and new digital identities. We attribute this to many new-to-digital consumers moving online to procure goods and services that were no longer available in person or harder to access via a physical store, during the pandemic.

Latin America experienced the highest attack rates of all regions globally and realized consistent spikes in attack rates from March to June 2020. This highlights the impact COVID-19 had on attack rates in the region.

The Digital Identity Network processed 740 million transactions in the region overall, a significant 63% growth year over year. This increase accompanied rate increases for both human-initiated and automated bot attacks, which grew 23% and 46% respectively.

Notably, Brazil and Mexico each advanced in the list of countries that contribute the largest volume of human-initiated cyberattacks. They now rank 3 and 4, respectively, behind only the United States and Canada. One example of a Latin American fraud network saw more multiple fraudsters target four banks and two payment gateways in Brazil, with more than $275,000 USD exposed to fraud. This network alone consisted of 1,600 devices, 9,300 email addresses and 500 telephone numbers.

Additional Key Findings from the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report:

  • Decline in Attack Rate – The overall human-initiated attack rate across the Digital Identity Network fell through the first half of 2020, showing a 33% decline year over year. The breakdown by sector shows a 23% decline in financial services and a 55% decline in e-commerce attack rates.

    Despite this, APAC saw some growth in attack rates during April and May and a large spike in June through an identity spoofing bot attack, which targeted a payment gateway. The attack patterns in North America and EMEA had less volatility and fewer spikes in attack rates from the six-month period observed.
  • Attack Vector Global View - Media is the only industry that recorded an overall year over year growth in human-initiated cyberattacks. The Digital Identity Network recorded the 3% increase solely across mobile browser transactions.

    Globally, automated bots remain a key attack vector in the Digital Identity Network. Financial services organizations experienced a surge in automated bot attacks and continue to experience more bot attacks than any other industry.
  • Across the Customer Journey - New account creations see attacks at a higher rate than any other transaction type in the online customer journey. However, the largest volume of attacks targets online payments. Login transactions have seen the biggest drop in attack rate in comparison to other use cases.

    Analysis across new customer touchpoints in the online journey is included in this report for the first time, providing additional context on key points of risk such as money transfers and password resets.
  • During COVID-19 - All industries have felt the impact of COVID-19. There are clear peaks and troughs in transaction volumes coinciding with global lockdown periods. Financial services organizations realized a growth in new-to-digital banking users, a changing geographical footprint from previously well-traveled consumers and a reduction in the number of devices used per customer. There have also been several attacks targeting banks offering COVID-19-related loans.

E-commerce merchants have seen an increase in digital payments and several other key attack typologies that coincide with the lockdown period. These included account takeover attacks using identity spoofing and more first-party chargeback fraud.

“This is the first LexisNexis Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report to include data on the new reality of conducting business during a pandemic,” said Rebekah Moody, director of fraud and identity at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “The move to digital, for both businesses and consumers, has been significant. Yet with this change comes opportunity for exploitation. Fraudsters look for easy targets: whether government support packages, new lines of credit or media companies with fewer barriers to entry. We need to ensure that all consumers, especially those who might be new to digital, are protected. Businesses must arm themselves with a layered defense that can detect the full spectrum of possible attacks and is future-proofed against evolving threats.”

Latin America has felt the impact of COVID-19 keenly, as digital businesses continue to transform and evolve to meet the needs of an ever-more digital consumer base. However, this must not come at the expense of increased fraud,” added Rafael Costa Abreu, director of fraud and identity LATAM at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “We must identify and block fraudsters – whether opportunists or highly networked fraud rings – the moment they transact. Knowledge sharing must be as pivotal to global businesses as it is to the cybercriminals that attack them.”

Download a copy of the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report, January through June 2020 (English only). Join Rebekah Moody, director of fraud and identity at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, for an overview of the latest Cybercrime Report on Tuesday, September 15 at 10:00am ET (English only). View a video summary of the Cybercrime Report here(English only).

About LexisNexis Risk Solutions
LexisNexis Risk Solutions harnesses the power of data and advanced analytics to provide insights that help businesses and governmental entities reduce risk and improve decisions to benefit people around the globe. We provide data and technology solutions for a wide range of industries including insurance, financial services, healthcare and government. Headquartered in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we have offices throughout the world and are part of RELX (LSE: REL/NYSE: RELX), a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers. For more information, please visit www.risk.lexisnexis.com and www.relx.com.

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