Increased dark web activity putting merchants and consumers at risk

Get a copy of the upcoming book "Secure Operations Technology"

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting retailers and their customers through digital and social channels as retailers leverage new channels for increased revenue opportunities.

dark web activity

In a joint report, IntSights scoured the Clear and Dark Web to assess retail data and goods being sold illegally, new cyber scam tactics and how cybercriminals impersonate brands online to trick unknowing consumers. Riskified analyzed the transaction-level results of hundreds of millions of purchases for indicators of fraud to identify trends and new tactics used by fraudsters.

“As eCommerce continues its explosive growth, fraud has followed suit, making it very difficult for merchants to distinguish good customers from bad actors,” said Eido Gal, CEO of Riskified. “Inefficient fraud prevention costs merchants billions in chargebacks, overhead and missed sales, so accurate decisions are a must. We partnered with IntSights to look at fraud from start to finish – from selling compromised bank information to fraudulent purchase attempt to reselling the ill-gotten goods on the dark web – to assemble a clear picture of just how prevalent and sophisticated fraud is. With that understanding, we’ve developed our recommendations for the best ways to minimize the impact of fraud and keep good customers happy.”

The report analyzed data from Q3 2017 to Q3 2018 and found the following key trends:

  • 297 percent rise in the number of false retailer websites designed to “phish” for customer credentials. In Q3 alone there was an average of 23 phishing sites per company, which is a significant increase from 2017, which averaged 5.9 phishing attacks per company
  • 278 percent rise in stolen goods listed on black markets for resale
  • Average of 22.1 internal login pages or development servers exposed per retail company in 2018. When accessed this gives cybercriminals a portal into the retailer’s internal network
  • Fake apps and social media profiles are on the rise with a 469 percent spike in suspicious applications and a 345 percent increase in fake social media profiles (respectively) in Q4 2017.

“Retailers are increasingly focused on driving sales through a variety of online channels – Facebook, SMS messaging, Instagram, Twitter and more – all of which provide an ideal opportunity for fraudsters to lure in new victims through phishing attacks as it is the most common way to obtain stolen credit card numbers,” said Guy Nizan, CEO of IntSights Cyber Intelligence. “As prime targets for cyber crime, retailers need to understand how their goods are being sold and bartered for on the Dark Web. This glimpse into criminal behavior and activity helps inform the overall cybersecurity program, leading to an increase in security posture.”