As digital technology becomes more highly advanced, so do the tactics of malevolent hackers. The past few years have seen the rise to fame of various hacking techniques that either didn’t exist before or were pretty much unknown. Malvertising and ransomeware are just a few of the many ill-intended innovations that responsible computer users must grapple with.
Who is vulnerable to these attacks? The short answer is everyone. A study conducted by Javelin revealed that around 13 million Americans became victims of electronic fraud over the course of 2015. That said, where you live in the United States can determine how likely you are of becoming a victim yourself.
A study conducted by Experian found that the states with the highest counts of billing fraud last year were Florida, Delaware, Oregon, California, and Washington, D.C. The highest counts for shipping fraud were Delaware, Oregon, Florida, California and Nevada.
What makes these regions more fraud-prevalent? Senior vice president of fraud and identity solutions at Experian Adam Fingersh has the anser:
“A lot of it has to do with proximity to port cities,” he explained. According to Fingersh, the size of the city is not necessarily the biggest indicator of its fraud prevalence, contrary to popular belief. “While there are a number of big cities that are ranked high, we also see a number of small cities that are ranked as having high risk.”
Fingersh claims that fraud is a phenomenon that tends to follow the path of least resistance: “We’ve seen that as a result of pulling pin-and-chip technologies into the U.S., fraudsters are looking for other avenues to exploit… as a result, card-not-present fraud, as anticipated from what we’ve seen in other regions, becomes one of those channels that fraudsters can look to backfill opportunities prior to the introduction of chip-and-pin.”
Chip-and-pin technology is such a newly introduced technology in the U.S. that substantial data hasn’t yet been collected about its introduction and any potentially correlating data regarding card-not-present fraud rates. That said, there is evidence that CNP rates might be getting higher.
“During the most recent Black Friday holiday, there was a significant volume in card-not-present fraud, and some of the geographies referenced in our study saw a significant increase in that time frame… We know there’s a gradual climb in card-not-present fraud as EMV is rolled out,” Fingersh concluded.
As selfish and illegal as credit card fraud is, the nefarious activity of hackers isn’t always as harmful as it threatens to be. Sometimes it can actually be helpful, as is demonstrated by the Pentagon’s recent announcement regarding the launch of a bug bounty program aiming to make the Defense Department computers more secure.
The Department of Defense stated that this initiative, titled “Hack the Pentagon,” is the first bug bounty program to have ever been supported by the federal government. The pilot program will involve the department’s use of commercial sector crowdsourcing to enable qualified participants to conduct vulnerability identification and analysis on its public Web pages.
Bug bounty programs have become a trend among major businesses in the private sector.