Nearly 200,000 phishing domains were discovered, and of those domains, 66 per cent targeted consumers directly.
Newly released data from Akamai’s 2019 State of the Internet/Security Financial Services Attack Economy Report has found that 50 per cent of all unique organizations impacted by observed phishing domains were from the financial services sector. The data shows that, in addition to unique phishing attempts, adversaries also leveraged credential stuffing attacks to the tune of 3.5 billion attempts during an 18-month period, putting the personal data and banking information of financial services customers at risk.
The report indicates that between December 2, 2018 and May 4, 2019, nearly 200,000 (197,524 to be exact) phishing domains were discovered, and of those domains, 66 per cent targeted consumers directly. When taking the phishing domains targeting consumers only into consideration, 50 per cent of those targeted companies in the financial services industry.
Once criminals have succeeded in their schemes, they need to process their ill-gotten data and funds. As Akamai's report highlights, one method of dealing with this situation centres on ‘bank drops’ – packages of data that can be used to fraudulently open accounts at a given financial institution. Bank drops will typically include a person's stolen identity – often called 'fullz' by criminals online, including name, address, date of birth, Social Security details, driver's license information, and credit score. Secure access to the fraudulent accounts comes via remote desktop servers, which are matched to the geographic location of the bank and the 'fullz'.
Financial institutions continue to investigate the ways in which criminals are opening these drop accounts, and are working diligently to stay ahead of the curve. What most businesses don’t realize, however, is that criminals are recycling old attack methods.
Akamai’s findings revealed that 94 per cent of observed attacks against the financial services sector came from one of four methods: SQL Injection (SQLi), Local File Inclusion (LFI), Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and OGNL Java Injection (which accounted for more than 8 million attempts during this reporting period). OGNL Java Injection, made famous due to the Apache Struts vulnerability, continues to be used by attackers’ years after patches have been issued.
In the financial services industry, criminals have also started launching DDoS attacks as a distraction to conduct credential stuffing attacks or to exploit a web-based vulnerability. Over the course of 18 months, Akamai uncovered more than 800 DDoS attacks against the financial services industry alone.
The criminal economy thrives, in part, because they target the financial services industry. By targeting banks for example, criminals attempt to steal sensitive data, and then turn around and use that same data to open fake accounts and lines of credit. It's a continuous cycle of crime. There is a deep level of irony in the fact that criminals are targeting the very industry they need to survive. While financial institutions are becoming better at detecting these attacks, adversaries continue to find success with old tricks, and that’s a problem.