The state of cyber threats: Sophisticated attacks spreading across more industries

March 31, 2021

For consumers suddenly stuck at home and businesses facing a potentially devastating loss in foot traffic, digital technology became a lifeline in the early months of the pandemic – and created new opportunities for cyber criminals, particularly in the financial industry.

A look at cybersecurity trends for the second half of the year shows progressively sophisticated attacks across even more industries, notably retail, with cybercriminals better able to hide telltale signs of bot behavior, according to “2020 H2: Fraud Risk at a Glance,” a new report from NuData, a Mastercard company that specializes in behavioral analytics and passive biometrics.

The report also found that cybercriminals were increasingly using human farms of paid workers to bypass security protections at scale. As security tools get better at identifying suspect IP addresses, they also reused them less often.  The report shows that attacks are using higher-quality credentials, likely stolen during COVID-related phishing scams, with the average percentage of successful credentials per attack nearly doubling from 1.4% in the first half of 2020 to 2.6% in the second half.

Using NuData intelligence on monitored activity across its global network, the report details how the changing shopping habits affected attack patterns, what kinds of attacks proliferated, which verticals were targeted, and how these increasingly sophisticated attacks work.