Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

11/21/2013
04:00 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Financial Institution Call Centers Targeted By Social Engineers

One in every 2,500 calls to these sites is from a fraudster trying to steal money, new report says

Online cybercrime sometimes concludes with phone fraud, a multimillion-dollar underground enterprise that often targets financial institution call centers to cash in on bank account and other personal information pilfered online. Phone fraud racked up an average of $42,546 in losses per financial account in the first half of 2013, according to new data released today.

One in every 2,500 phone calls to a financial institution call center is a fraud, and each phone fraud call incurs a loss of 57 cents, the report by Pindrop Security says.

"Fifty-seven cents per call surprised us significantly," says Vijay Balasubramaniyan, CEO at Pindrop Security. "If you're a call center getting 1 million calls, that's $570,000 in phone-based account takeovers. We didn't realize it would be that high.

"We're seeing fraudsters stepping up their games, calling these call centers so well-prepared, and going after accounts with a lot of money in them."

Organized crime rings that perpetrate phone fraud use a blend of social engineering and account manipulation to steal money via wire transfers, account clearinghouse (ACH) transactions, and payment cards. Most of these attackers -- 57 percent -- work in groups of two to 12 people, and about half place calls from mobile devices, one third from voice-over-IP lines, and nearly 15 percent from landline phones.

The typical phone fraudster goes after anywhere from a handful of accounts to hundreds of them, Pindrop says. Many of these actors also have a strong online presence and operate across both the Internet and phone channels of attack.

"They may take over an account online, but they can also get as much information from an online channel and when they have to ... steal money, they actually move to the phone channel," Balasubramaniyan says.

Financial institutions are an obvious target for the attackers, who often conduct online reconnaissance before placing the calls to cash in.

Pindrop says one of the most active phone fraud rings it has seen, nicknamed "West Africa One," includes 12 callers who spoof U.S. phone numbers and conduct fraudulent wire transfers and ACH transactions. The gang has been known to have stolen more than $1 million from one financial institution, and are infamous for placing a high volume of calls to their targets.

Meanwhile, consumers also are getting hit by phone fraud. Pindrop says there were 2.3 million consumer complaints about these calls in the first half of this year -- up from 2.4 million complaints in all of 2012. Nine of the top 10 financial institutions were spoofed in 73,000 complaints filed by consumers of their financial institutions being impersonated.

Pindrop's full report is available here here for download.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mobile Banking Malware Up 50% in First Half of 2019
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/17/2020
Active Directory Needs an Update: Here's Why
Raz Rafaeli, CEO and Co-Founder at Secret Double Octopus,  1/16/2020
Google Lets iPhone Users Turn Device into Security Key
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/15/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-16270
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-22
Samsung Galaxy Gear series before build RE2 includes the hcidump utility with no privilege or permission restriction. This allows an unprivileged process to dump Bluetooth HCI packets to an arbitrary file path.
CVE-2018-16271
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-22
The wemail_consumer_service (from the built-in application wemail) in Samsung Galaxy Gear series allows an unprivileged process to manipulate a user's mailbox, due to improper D-Bus security policy configurations. An arbitrary email can also be sent from the mailbox via the paired smartphone. This a...
CVE-2018-16272
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-22
The wpa_supplicant system service in Samsung Galaxy Gear series allows an unprivileged process to fully control the Wi-Fi interface, due to the lack of its D-Bus security policy configurations. This affects Tizen-based firmwares including Samsung Galaxy Gear series before build RE2.
CVE-2019-10780
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-22
BibTeX-ruby before 5.1.0 allows shell command injection due to unsanitized user input being passed directly to the built-in Ruby Kernel.open method through BibTeX.open.
CVE-2019-10781
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-22
In schema-inspector before 1.6.9, a maliciously crafted JavaScript object can bypass the `sanitize()` and the `validate()` function used within schema-inspector.