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Growth in Mobile Payments Causing Increased payment-Related crimes, New Study Shows

The growing mobile market is a huge attraction for criminal activities, a new report indicates. As more consumers turn to mobile to make payment for both online and offline transactions, criminals are believed to be watching keenly and could soon strike hard. Indeed, the report shows that in the recent years, growth in mobile payments has coincided with a similar increase in payment crimes.

Threat Matrix, a California bases data security, in its Cyber Crime Report: Q2 2015 shows a pattern where data criminals actively monitor user’s activity and try to capture payment data. The company analyzed more than 75 million attacks, a majority of which were detected and stopped.

The report shows that criminals now find it easy because all they have to do is to place mobile devices along payment tracks, says Vanita Pandey, an executive at Threat Matrix. The most common type of mobile device attack is spoofing which accounted for at least 9.7% of all attacks in the 2nd quarter of 2015. Android devices are the most targeted, accounting for 2.8% of attacks followed by 2.2% for Windows mobile devices and 2.1% for iPhones. iPads were the last in this category with only 1.7%.

“The current state of mobile usage is enough to justify a return on investment (ROI) for using criminal resources to attack mobile platforms,” said Pandey. In an email to Digital Transactions News, Threat Matrix director of strategy and product marketing said, “mobile transactions have now reached a point where the volume can justify significant investment in terms of pulling resources to organize serious attacks on the platform.”

Other than that, the report also found that financial institutions remain the top target of any organized payments attacks. Threat Matrix detected more than 25 million attacks on financial institutions in the second quarter of 2015 alone. This was a 30% increase compared to the first quarter.

Given the speed at which consumers are adopting digital payments, most financial institutions have had to make hurried decisions so as not to lose customers. Most of the institutions continue to use technologies such as fingerprinting – a barrier that criminals can very easily bypass. This has only led to more attacks. The other factor is malware targeting businesses as well as individuals. Again, financial institutions are the biggest targets of these threats. Some criminals have even created specialized malware to be used exclusively in financial institution attacks.

The report summarizes by calling on involved parties to work hand in hand to stop these criminals in their tracks and retailers to consider options such as merchant chargeback protection.