Online Fraud in Russia Soars in First Two Weeks of 2019


Russian internet criminals have seriously stepped up their activities since the beginning of the year, cybersecurity company Group-IB has said, according to Izvestya.

The number of identified and blocked websites in the first two weeks of January increased 2.5-fold, the company said citing data from its Cyber Security Incident Response Center.

Experts link the rise of fraudulent transactions to the development of technology and expect that in 2019 the amount of online fraud will only increase.

Group-IB told the newspaper that over the period of January 1-9, 130 fraudulent websites of intruders were uncovered and blocked. The websites were disguised as real pages of banks, payment systems, telecom operators, online stores and well-known brands. According to a source close to the cybercrime investigation, every Russian duped by fraudsters in December and the first ten days of January could have lost as much as 100,000-500,000 rubles ($1,493-7,468) on average.

Financial institutions agree that the scammers had become more active and that the issue is related to the development of new digital channels, products and services, as fraudsters constantly develop new schemes.

Mikhail Ivanov, Director of Information Security at Rosbank, told the newspaper that criminals often obtain data for fraudulent operations directly from people themselves using various tricks.

Group-IB expects that in 2019, the number of such attacks will increase. Bursts of activity are most likely to happen before events associated with high consumer demand, such as Cyber Monday, February 23 and March 8 (International Women’s Day). Diversions from hacked sites, spam, false search results will be the main ways of attracting users to fraudulent pages, the cybersecurity company’s analysts say.