Mobile fraudsters are getting better at adapting their strategies

Online fraud continues to be a larger problem on desktops compared to mobile devices. Roughly 74% of fake accounts were found to originate from desktops compared to 10% on mobile, according to new research from Datavisor. This is largely due to desktops not providing a unique device fingerprint compared to smartphones. Thus, fraud is harder to track on desktops.

However, that doesn’t mean mobile is off the hook. During Q2 2018, 17% of fraudulent accounts originating from iOS devices came from the iPhone 5s.

Overall, fraudsters are becoming faster at adopting newer OS versions with 5-10% of fraudulent accounts found on the latest OS versions.

The finding further emphasises just how fast fraudsters are adapting to changing mobile environments. This potentially puts them ahead of the curve and ensures that it becomes harder to detect them.

The report also noted that fraudsters are increasingly taking advantage of cloud environments to conduct their malicious activities. Indeed, 27% of accounts from cloud service IP ranges appeared fraudulent. Malicious accounts were 11x more likely to use cloud services compared to normal users.

Mobile plays a key role in this with fraudsters targeting mobile gaming platforms and social more likely to use cloud services such as Amazon Web Services.

Globally, the US and China are the countries with the highest number of fraud attacks. Over 23% of fake accounts that target  online and financial services originated from the US and 20% from China. Attacks targeting North America and Europe originated mostly from the US (51%).

Across social media platforms, the majority of attacks were found to be spam-related including fake followers or fake likes. The dominant fraudulent activities on financial services include contact updates and adding accounts for fund transfers and payments.

Overall, the report highlights the growing rate at which fraudulent activity continues to spread. As fraudsters are becoming better at devising their strategies, device markers, marketers and solution providers will have to adopt more sophisticated technologies to address the problem.