Visa focused on cybersecurity as digital fraudsters evolve
Visa focused on cybersecurity as digital fraudsters evolve

Visa focused on cybersecurity as digital fraudsters evolve

By Stefania Stimolo - 17 Oct 2022

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Visa, the global leader in digital payments, has released reports focused on the importance of cybersecurity in the expanding digital payments industry, highlighting how fraudsters are increasingly advanced and innovative. 

Visa: cybersecurity vs the evolution of innovative scams in digital payments

Visa emphasizes how cybersecurity has become an increasingly critical factor in the expansion of digital payments, which have also led to an evolution by cybercriminals and increasingly innovative and sophisticated scams. 

In its Visa Biannual Threats Report and the MIT Technology Review Insights study “Moving Money in a Digital World” (in which Visa collaborated), the payments leader has laid out data and analysis confirming new threats to the post-pandemic economy. 

And indeed, the pandemic has led to a boom in digital transactions, with more and more global companies aligning with the trend, putting an increasing amount of digital money into circulation. This is a growing adoption of digital financial services, such as mobile banking, online shopping and peer-to-peer payments.

As a result, fraudsters are notoriously going where the money is, and their online activities are expanding in tandem with this trend. According to reported data, annual losses due to cybercrime in the United States nearly doubled between 2019 and 2021, from $3.5 billion to $6.9 billion. 

This is why fortifying security against theft and fraud is becoming increasingly urgent, also calculating that the new criminals are more advanced, and therefore the crimes more sophisticated. 

Visa: security threats are the biggest challenge to expanding digital payments

Last year alone, Visa handled an estimated $13 trillion worth of transactions through its global networks. 

Paul Fabara, executive vice president and chief risk officer at Visa, said: 

“The common denominator across almost all post-pandemic behavioral shifts is the growing importance of digital payments.”

Basically, according to a reported survey, it appears that although 36% of companies surveyed are just starting to use digital payments, 43% plan to expand their offerings in the next 18 months, and many are venturing into cross-border transactions (37%) and cryptocurrencies (18%).

This increased interest in digital payments is accompanied by the need for stringent security controls, precisely in view of the rise in cases of cyber attacks. 

Indeed, nearly three-quarters of fraud and data breach cases investigated by Visa’s Global Risk team involved e-commerce merchants, often featuring social engineering and ransomware attacks. Digital skimming attacks targeting e-commerce platforms and third-party code integrations are also common.

Following the survey, 59% of respondents recognize that cybersecurity threats are the biggest challenge to expanding digital payments. Many prioritize advanced security features such as digital tokens (32%) and artificial intelligence and advanced authorizations (43%).

Cybersecurity and sophisticated threats in the crypto sector

Speaking of digital payments, cryptocurrencies cannot be missed either, with malicious actors employing new tactics to carry out their frauds on crypto users. 

Visa reported on new threats such as the Mars Stealer, a new malware focused on browser extension wallets for cryptocurrency users that targeted more than 40 crypto-wallets, as well as the innovation of phishing and social engineering schemes

Or the attacks on the vulnerability of bridge services for cryptocurrencies that, in the first two months of 2022 alone, apparently netted cyber-thieves more than $400 million. In practice, these are thefts involving cross-chain, or bridge, platforms that allow users to transfer cryptocurrencies between different blockchains. 

In general, these cryptocurrency thefts illustrate the growing interest to smart-contracts, decentralized finance (DeFi) and cross-chain bridge services for stealing funds.

The case of Google and Mandiant

Global giants such as Google are also working to strengthen their cybersecurity. Indeed, the search engine recently bought the company Mandiant in a $23 per share deal, in an all-cash transaction valued at about $5.4 billion 

The goal of the deal appears to be precisely to strengthen security operations, consulting services, and improve the cloud computing business. 

Google’s move came just in time to take Mandiant away from Microsoft, as it was apparently a contender for the cybersecurity company. 

Stefania Stimolo

Graduated in Marketing and Communication, Stefania is an explorer of innovative opportunities. She started out as a Sales Assistant for e-commerce, and in 2016 she began to develop a passion for the digital world, initially in the Network Marketing sector, where she discovered and became passionate about the ideals behind Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, which lead her to work as a copywriter and translator for ICO projects and blogs, and organize introductory courses.

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