Transaction data shows World Cup’s impact on gambling and travel firms

ThreatMetrix, which provides companies with digital identity intelligence and trust decisioning solutions, has seen marked spikes in fraud attempts on businesses, with the major deviations from normal transaction trends primarily hitting the travel and online gambling sectors.

Gambling companies have been hit by a big spike in transaction volumes coming from Russia – in particular mobile transactions – which saw an 850% growth in volume.

In the lead up to the World Cup, ThreatMetrix detected a series of bot attacks on online betting companies, as they looked to test their defences and carry out large-scale automated attacks while transaction volumes are abnormally high. For example, in the case of one major European betting company, during peak attacks periods bot attacks made up 40% of daily traffic.

“Organisations experiencing high seasonal online volumes need an accurate way to detect human behaviour from automated attacks without slowing down performance and delaying true consumers,” said Alisdair Faulkner, Chief Products Officer at ThreatMetrix. “Fraudsters are essentially opportunists – however, in today’s world they are sophisticated opportunists, operating global cybercrime rings to deliver well-organised and thought-out attacks on areas that they see to be at higher-than-average risk. Around the World Cup, those top targets seem to be online betting and travel industries.”

The biggest attack vector seen by the travel firms on ThreatMetrix’s network is identity spoofing, as fraudsters look to use stolen and synthesized identity credentials to open up fraudulent new accounts, make fraudulent payments and take over existing accounts, which often store personal and credit card information.

“One global travel company on the network has seen dramatic changes since the beginning of April, with a 20% growth in transaction volume accompanied by a 46% growth in attack rates. Attacks are far outpacing the rise in the volume of transactions, showing this is a deliberate move from fraudsters to target this industry. As travel companies invest in digital strategies that are centred around lowering barriers and increasing conversion rates, they need to employ fraud prevention technologies that work completely behind the scenes and require no additional steps from trusted users.”

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