New Visa reports underscore importance of cybersecurity amid shifting threats

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Visa Inc., the world leader in digital payments, on Saturday shared an updated look at how fraud has evolved since the height of the pandemic, with criminals simultaneously targeting online and offline vulnerabilities as our daily lives return to a mix of in-person and electronic – trade experiences.

“As in-person commerce returns to pre-pandemic levels, thieves are returning to exploiting physical points of vulnerability in stores, while continuing to exploit e-commerce through malware, ransomware and phishing attacks, among others,” said Neil Fernandes, Head of Risk at NALP and GCC regions in Visa.

Two new pieces of global research – Visa’s latest Biennial Threat Report and the MIT Technology Review Insights study “Moving Money in the Digital World,” published Oct. 6 in partnership with Visa – highlight new threats returning to the post-pandemic economy.

Digital commerce, crypto users are rich targets for innovative fraudsters

Still, the digital commerce environment—which has been greatly accelerated by the pandemic—remains the richest target for cybercriminals.

Nearly three-quarters of fraud and data breach cases investigated by Visa’s global risk team involved e-commerce merchants – often social engineering and ransomware attacks. Digital skimming attacks targeting e-commerce platforms and third-party code integrations are common.

These attacks highlight the need for tight security controls on merchant websites and payment sites, ensuring that external code is not enabled in sensitive cardholder environments. In fact, 42% of MIT Technology Review Insights respondents report Moving Money in the Digital World | MIT Technology Review says that security measures are important to their customers, and 59% of them admit that cyber security threats are the biggest challenge to the expansion of digital payments. Many prioritize advanced security capabilities such as digital tokens (32%), artificial intelligence and improved authorization (43%).

In addition to attacks on traditional currency, threat actors are using new tactics to defraud cryptocurrency users, including new malware focused on browser extension wallets for crypto users, as well as innovations in phishing and social engineering schemes. Crypto bridge services are also a target. From January to February 2022, three significant thefts that exploited vulnerabilities in various bridge services netted cyberthieves over $400 million.

Visa promises protection

Although cybercrime still exists, Visa has increased its efforts to mitigate fraud. Over the past five years, Visa has invested more than $9 billion in network security. Visa employs more than a thousand dedicated experts who protect Visa’s network from malware, zero-day attacks and insider threats 24x7x365. Visa also leverages AI capabilities and always-on experts to protect its ecosystem, proactively detecting and preventing billions of dollars in fraud attempts. In fact, Visa’s real-time AI monitoring blocked over $4.2 billion in fraudulent payment volume in the last 12 months, preventing many from ever knowing they were at risk of a potential fraudulent transaction.

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