Fraud losses climbed to $56 billion in 2020 and identity fraud scams accounted for a staggering $43 billion of that cost, according to a new report. The reduction in transaction activity in 2020, combined with financial institutions’ more robust antifraud measures, made it harder for criminals to succeed in their ‘traditional’ fraud activities, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, which provides insights for financial institutions, government, payments companies, merchants, fintechs and technology providers. Criminals instead opted to interact directly with their fraud victims via identity fraud scams, seeing that direct interaction yields better chances of success. Like many other research papers during the pandemic, Javelin’s report finds that COVID has had a dramatic impact on consumer financial behavior, prompting them to increase their usage of streaming services, digital commerce and payments. People also used email and text messaging, for both work and personal life, more than ever. This shift expanded the attack surface for novel fraud scams.
Arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby has suffered a cloud-bucket misconfiguration, exposing a raft of customer information, according to a report. An independent security researcher who goes by the handle “Boogeyman” uncovered the issue and reported it to Motherboard in an online chat, according to a Vice writeup. The researcher said that customer names, partial payment-card details, phone numbers, and physical and email addresses were all caught up in the leak – along with source code for the company’s app, and employee names and email addresses. Boogeyman offered screenshots verifying the exposure of the data, which totaled 138GB and impacted around 300,000 customers. It was housed in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud database that was misconfigured to be publicly accessible. The issue is now resolved, but it’s unclear if any malicious actors tapped the information before the database was secure. “We identified the access control involved and have taken steps to secure the system,” Hobby Lobby told Motherboard. Threatpost has reached out to Hobby Lobby to independently confirm the issue.
Honeywell, a Fortune 100 firm that makes aerospace and energy equipment, said Tuesday that malware had disrupted “a limited number” of its computer systems. Honeywell said it had “returned to service” following the incident, but the Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm’s statement did not elaborate on how service was disrupted. A Honeywell spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions on the incident, including whether ransomware was involved and who was responsible. Honeywell, which reported some $33 billion in sales last year, said it did not expect the malware disruption to have a “material impact” on the firm. Honeywell called in Microsoft to help remediate the intrusion, and the computer systems have “since been secured,” the statement said. “Our investigation is ongoing, but at this point, we have not yet identified any evidence that the attacker exfiltrated data from our primary systems that store customer information,” Honeywell added. “If we discover that any customer information was exfiltrated, we will contact those customers directly.”
In an era of keyless entry, connected cars and computerized everything, you’d think that car theft would be a thing of the past. Alas, as cars have gone more high-tech, so have car thieves. Thanks to clever black market hardware, it’s possible for thieves to spoof the electronic codes that wireless key fobs use to unlock and start cars. It’s not easy to do, but it’s common enough to be a concern, especially with high-end vehicles. To discourage this, Dodge has taken a page out of the IT security handbook and will now offer two-factor authentication in Charger and Challenger models equipped with its most powerful 392-cubic inch V8 and its supercharged 6.2-liter V8. Even better, this feature isn’t restricted to only newly sold vehicles: It’ll be available as a free software update to all eligible 2015-2021 products.
The findings of a Bolster report, along with real life examples, clearly correlate the rise in crypto scams to the value and popularity of cryptocurrencies as well as the increase in individuals seeking financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than 400,000 crypto scams created in 2020, there was a 40 percent increase compared to 2019. An increase of 75 percent is prediced in 2021, based on current levels of suspicious activity that often indicates future scams. As the leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has gone mainstream, in large part due to support from celebrities and major corporations, such as Tesla, and is gaining the interest of professional investors on Wall Street. The global market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies reached a peak of $1.7 trillion in January 2021, which is an eight times increase from January 2020. Fraudsters have taken notice of this and launched hundreds of thousands of scams to steal this valuable asset from the unwary, ranging from traditional giveaway scams to attacks targeting crypto wallets directly.