Black Friday sales see 48% hike in global transactions, rampant cyberattacks

Study reveals that fraudsters target new account creations to test, validate and build online identities for financial gain


THE Black Friday sales week recently saw a 48% increase in global transactions compared to the same period in 2018, according to a “Digital Identity Network” study by LexisNexis.

The study also revealed that during the sales period between Nov 27 and Dec 3, cyberattacks were rampant, with new consumers being the main target.

This year, the attacks were shown to be originating from Russia, Belarus, China, Vietnam, South Korea and the US.

“In 2019, bots evolved to target new account creations, with the Black Friday week continuing this global cyberattacks trend.

“New accounts offer fraudsters the opportunity to test, validate and build online identities for financial gain. During the Black Friday week, fraudsters went one step further, targeting new accounts created using mobile devices.

“These new mobile accounts, or mobile app registrations, provide fraudsters the opportunity to mimic new customers and initiate transactions through an established and seemingly genuine account,” it said.

The study added that the average shopping cart transaction value rejected as high risk or fraudulent over the Black Friday week was 179% higher than legitimate transactions.

“This 2019 shopping week was no different. The Digital Identity Network recorded globally three times as many payments when compared to a normal shopping day.

“However, consumers increasingly showed a preference for making payments via mobile devices with 64% of all payments during Black Friday week.

“For one global payment processor, the mobile browser attack rate on payments doubled over the shopping week compared to average rates,” it said.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions VP of fraud and identity market planning Kim Sutherland said cybercriminals are opportunity seekers and travel paths of least resistance, shifting their focus based on consumer patterns.

“As consumers ramp up their purchase volumes and increasingly utilise mobile devices to transact, data shows that fraudsters will likely continue to progressively target mobile channels and with higher dollar fraud.

“The LexisNexis Fraud Multiplier for 2019 showed that for every dollar lost to fraud, retailers and e-commerce merchants incur an additional US$3.13 (RM12.96) on average in associated costs including lost revenue, chargeback fees, merchandise redistribution, and other fees.

“However, employing a multi-layered, risk-aware fraud prevention programme remains the greatest defence against fraud losses,” Sutherland said in a statement.

According to the 2019 “LexisNexis Cybercrime Report”, the mobile channel is a growing target for fraudsters, increasing 12% in the last year alone.

However, desktop transactions remain the centre of attention for fraudsters. During the 2019 Black Friday week, desktop attack volumes remained high and in proportion to transaction volumes.

Fraudsters from across the world continue to take advantage of the availability of breached identity data to launch attacks and profit from increased transactional traffic.

The data was acquired by LexisNexis from network comprised of data from approximately 38 billion global transactions each year including logins, payments, and new account creations.