Cyber-criminals are targeting more “affluent” individuals to obtain more money, studies have found.
Like a burglar deciding between a modest house and a luxurious one, they’re apparently choosing the ones that are likely to have more valuables. With the continual rise of malware, criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated and are taking on higher security risks for higher stakes.
The survey by Creditcards.com used fraud alerts to graph their results and found that 68% of survey participants with £58,000 or more in annual income had received security alerting them of fraud. For participants making between £23,000 to just over £58,000, only 40% received the same alerts. It comes then, to no surprise, that only 23% of participants who earned under £23,000 received the fraud alert.
The statistics are very similar between annual income and level of education. Around 65% of university graduates received the alert whereas those who attended university in part, and those who didn’t, had decreasing percentages of 49% and 25% respectively.
Ransomware on the rise
As fraudsters target richer individuals, they may turn to the popular trend of ransomware if they can’t directly steal money or information to sell. Knowing that the target has more money, criminals may ransom credit/debit information for a higher payment demand than if the target has less money.
Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, made a statement saying:
“…fraudsters seem to be swimming for the fences, focusing their efforts on high value targets.”
He also explained that credit card fraud alerts are more common than alerts for debit cards as
“…credit card limits typically exceed checking account balances.”
Will there always be cyber-criminals?
Whilst technology is always improving to identify fraud and data hacks and breaches, criminals are also learning to adapt too.
At any point in modern history, there is likely to be a safe that is considered the most secure in the world; until someone comes along and finds a way to break into it. Then another more advanced and high tech safe may be introduced as the most secure in the world, for a while, until that’s cracked. There is a never-ending tug of war between security firms and criminals which is tightly strung and the centre point never seems to show a clear victor on either side.
Criminals are learning all sorts of tactics like how to make fake chips in credit and debit cards. This can create problems for EMV payment systems that require cards to be inserted into a reader and a pin code for verification. The fake chip may not work and shop assistants may have no choice but to pay by swiping the card. In the U.S, zip codes (the American version of a postcode) are sometimes used to verify the account holder’s identity during transactions, but criminals have started selling them to accompany hacked card numbers as well!
Will we ever be fully secure? Organisations and individuals should do everything they can to implement the right security measures to prevent cyber-attackers from gaining access to sensitive and confidential information; but is it ever going to be enough?
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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