Shielding Financial Assets from Cyber Threats Through Fraud Intelligence

Harnessing Fraud Intelligence to Secure Financial Data and Prevent Losses

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May 17, 2024
financial fraud

Organizations today face myriad cyber threats—from payment fraud and identity theft to ransomware attacks and data breaches—that can severely impact their financial well-being. Fraud intelligence is crucial for understanding these threats, from the tactics and motivations of threat actors to how they acquire and leverage stolen data for financial gain. By leveraging fraud intelligence, organizations can take proactive measures to safeguard sensitive information and prevent significant financial losses.

In this blog, we’ll explore the evolving financial threat landscape, the challenges organizations face, and how key fraud intelligence solutions can help them stay ahead of fraudsters and protect their assets.

The scope and impact of financial fraud

An estimated $3 trillion in illicit funds coursed through the global financial system last year, underpinning a vast underground economy thriving on fraud and deception. Major threats are on the rise. According to our 2024 Global Threat Intelligence Report, Flashpoint recorded 6,077 data breaches in 2023, resulting in illegal access to 17 billion records—a nearly 35% increase from the previous year. The financial sector alone experienced 530 breaches, resulting in 375 million stolen records, with 52.6% caused by ransomware or unauthorized access. Meanwhile, the technology sector had 3.5 billion records stolen in 134 breaches over the course of 2023, while the retail sector was the victim of 291 data breaches and 78 million stolen records.

Stolen data, including compromised credentials, card numbers, and other sensitive information, can severely impact an organization’s assets, customers, stakeholders, and reputation if leveraged by threat actors on the deep and dark web or open-source channels.

Threat actors, motivations, and targets

This underground economy enables opportunistic cybercriminals to buy, sell, and launder stolen data and money with alarming ease and anonymity. In these illicit communities, forums, and marketplaces, threat actors offer everything from stolen credit card numbers and blank checks to stolen account credentials. These venues and the actors who run them are dynamic, continually evolving, and resilient despite increased law enforcement attention.

Most threat actors are financially motivated, focusing on card and payment fraud to fund operations or for sheer profit. However, financial motivations do not account for all cybercrime Credit card, gift card, and receipt fraud remain everyday threats.

Malicious actors also have other aims affecting organizations across sectors, well beyond credit card and payment fraud. These cyberattacks can be just as damaging.

Related: LockBit Ransomware: Inside the World’s Most Active Ransomware Group

The many faces of fraud

For financial data specifically, organizations and their customers face a variety of threats, including:

  • ATM and Point-of-Sale Fraud: Techniques such as card skimming, shimming, and jackpotting, where attackers steal card information or manipulate ATMs to dispense cash fraudulently.
  • Synthetic Identity Fraud: Fraudsters combine real and fake information to create new identities used to open fraudulent accounts and make unauthorized transactions.
  • Phishing and Spear Phishing Attacks: Targeted attacks that trick employees into revealing sensitive information or transferring funds to criminal entities.
  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): Long-term targeted attacks that infiltrate networks to steal highly sensitive financial information.
  • Check Fraud: Forging an account holder’s signature on a stolen check, altering a legitimate check, or writing counterfeit checks for unauthorized accounts.
  • Cryptocurrency Scams: Deceptive schemes exploiting the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies to defraud organizations, including phishing for private keys, fake ICOs, investments scams and cryptojacking.

The case for proactive threat mitigation

When it comes to cybersecurity best practices, the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been more pertinent. Traditional security measures, often reactive, have proven insufficient against the backdrop of increasingly sophisticated cyber fraud. These reactive strategies typically wait for fraud to occur before action is taken, leaving organizations vulnerable to the first—and often the most damaging—strike.

The losses can be severe.

The proactive impact of Flashpoint Fraud Intelligence

As fraudulent activities become more sophisticated, staying ahead of potential threats without advanced tools becomes nearly insurmountable. Organizations are fighting back. Flashpoint Fraud Intelligence marks a crucial step towards proactive cybersecurity measures. By understanding and anticipating fraudsters’ moves before they strike, organizations can enhance their security posture, minimize potential financial losses, and maintain customer trust. This proactive approach is also cost-effective, saving organizations from significant fraud recovery expenses, and it bolsters operational resilience by preventing disruptions and ensuring a strategic security posture that adapts to emerging threats.

Fraud intelligence provides context-rich visibility into the cybercriminal economy to preemptively identify and counteract fraud attempts. This intelligence goes beyond traditional security measures by providing deep insights into the tactics, techniques, and procedures used by cybercriminals across various platforms, including dark web marketplaces, illicit forums, and suspicious transaction activities.

Related: The Flashpoint Guide to Card Fraud: How Financial Institutions Can Better Detect, Mitigate, and Prevent Fraud

The functions of effective fraud intelligence

  • Early Detection: By monitoring and analyzing patterns of fraudulent activity, Fraud Intelligence allows organizations to spot potential threats early. This early detection is crucial in preventing the materialization of these threats into actual financial or data losses.
  • Comprehensive Analysis: Fraud Intelligence provides a holistic view of the fraud landscape. It integrates various data points from across digital and physical realms to offer a rounded perspective on potential vulnerabilities and the methods employed by fraudsters.
  • Actionable Insights: More than just information, Fraud Intelligence delivers actionable insights that organizations can use to refine their security strategies, adjust their protocols, and strengthen their defenses against anticipated fraud attempts.

One Flashpoint customer, the SVP of Cyber Operations of a top US financial institution, reported that they were avoiding fraud loss of approximately $80 million each year using Flashpoint. Another customer, a financial crime intelligence center, proactively identified and thwarted a breach that would have cost them over $28 million.

Outsmarting cybercriminals with Flashpoint Fraud Intelligence

Cyber threats are continuously evolving, making it crucial to anticipate and neutralize potential fraud risks before they inflict harm. Flashpoint Fraud Intelligence is designed to empower security teams with a sophisticated toolkit for preemptive action against cybercriminal activities.

Flashpoint Fraud Intelligence offers comprehensive insights into the global fraud landscape, helping security and fraud teams proactively detect and mitigate potential threats. By monitoring card and account shops, data breaches, and underground forums, Flashpoint provides a tailored approach to safeguard financial transactions and maintain the integrity of digital assets. This proactive stance ensures businesses can prevent monetary losses and reputational damage.

Key features and capabilities

At its core, Flashpoint Fraud Intelligence offers unprecedented visibility into the cybercriminal landscape through comprehensive data collection and advanced analytics. This extensive coverage is essential for identifying the nuanced tactics employed by modern fraudsters.

As fraudsters grow in complexity and cunning, traditional methods often lag, catching threats only after damage has begun. Flashpoint bridges this critical gap by providing real-time insights and predictive analytics to identify potential fraud activities before they manifest into financial damage or data breaches.

  • Account Shops Analysis: Flashpoint enables in-depth monitoring of online marketplaces where stolen account details are traded. Enhanced search capabilities and actionable filters allow teams to swiftly identify risks related to compromised credentials, directly mitigating threats like credential stuffing attacks.
  • Advanced Payment Fraud Search: This feature integrates data from card shops and full cards into a unified interface, enabling users to search, filter, and analyze card and payment informationwith or without reliance on specific bank identifiers. It provides detailed insights into card details and associated fraudulent activities.
  • Dashboards for Card and Payment Fraud: Comprehensive dashboards that aggregate data from card shops and full cards offer detailed insights for targeted investigations. Card Shops provides analytics across the full scope of card and payment fraud data sources, regardless of specific BIN. Full Cards allows users to view card exposure across illicit card shops that are selling cards harvested from card present (CP) and card-not-present (CNP) transactions related to full cards that Flashpoint has discovered sales attempts for, regardless of specific BINs. 
  • BIN Management: The ability to upload and manage Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) allows for targeted analysis and custom dashboards for card shops and full cards, enhancing the detection and investigation of card exposure and fraud.
  • Cryptocurrency Intelligence: A centralized interface aggregates extensive data on cryptocurrency transactions, helping to identify and investigate suspicious activities across major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero.
  • API Access: Flashpoint provides an API for deep searches across its datasets, including full card details and BIN-agnostic queries, bolstering the fraud detection capabilities of organizations.

Securing the future with proactive fraud intelligence

As cyber threats evolve with daunting speed and complexity, the need for proactive fraud intelligence has never been more critical. Flashpoint Fraud Intelligence equips organizations with the tools to foresee and combat these threats, transforming their cybersecurity practices from reactive to proactive. By integrating this intelligence, organizations can safeguard their assets, preserve their reputations, and maintain the trust of their customers.

Don’t wait for fraud to find you. Take proactive steps to enhance your organization’s security posture by seeing Flashpoint Fraud Intelligence in action. Schedule a demo today and discover how you can stay one step ahead of cyber threats.

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