Cybercrime attacks launched from Europe reached more than 50 million in the first quarter, double the volume coming out of the US, according to the ThreatMetrix Q1 Cybercrime Report released today.
And within Europe, Italy, France, Germany, and the UK accounted for half of all attacks originating out of the region, with the UK and Germany contributing the lion's share.
Europe's open borders that allow for residents of the European Union to freely travel among the member states and engage in such activities as opening bank accounts outside of one's home state make it easier than the US in committing cybercrime, says Alisdair Faulkner, ThreatMetrix's chief products officer.
Political and financial uncertainties in Europe, combined with the sizable number of organized crime rings and Internet-connected customers engaging in ecommerce, also contribute to the volume of cyberattacks that originate out of Europe, says Vanita Pandey, product marketing vice president at ThreatMetrix.
Europe's UK, Germany, France, and Italy -- along with the US -- focus their cyberattacks on the UK and the US, which were both listed among the top five attack destination for each of these countries in the report.
And within these four European countries, Ireland and Austria also made it in the top five attack destinations list.
"A lot of high-profile companies with a global footprint are based in Ireland," explains Pandey.
And as one would expect, among the top five destination targets were each of the countries' own home soil, with the exception of Italy. When it comes to cybercrime originating from Italy, that country did not make it among Italy's top five destination targets.
Cybercrime Growth vs. Transaction Growth
The research report also found that a total of 130 million cybercrime-related fraud attacks were detected in the first quarter, which was approximately 23% higher than the more than 100 million attacks detected and stopped by ThreatMetrix during the first quarter last year.
But when comparing this year's first quarter growth of this type of fraud - which includes account-creation fraud using pilfered identities to create new bogus accounts to payments fraud with stolen payment credentials via man-in-the-middle attacks and through malware - fraud attacks were 50% higher given the growth rate in the number of transactions during the same year-over-year period.
Faulkner says it's not surprising that the growth rate in fraud attacks is moving at a pace faster than the growth rate in transactions, such as mobile payments to online payments, but he noted that in some quarters that growth gap increases and decreases.
Regardless, Faulkner says, "this is something that is not going away."