Stronger Mobile, Mobile Payments Use Makes EMEA Region a Tempting Target

June 28, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Scott Adams’ “Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel” once explained the universe of money as only he could. “Wherever there is money, there are weasels, usually in direct proportion.” While Adams’ definition of “weasel” is generally broader than just “active criminals,” there’s little doubt that active criminals are part of the weasel community. They do indeed go where the money is, as demonstrated by a report sent our way from ThreatMetrix.

ThreatMetrix, working with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, released the “ThreatMetrix Q1 2019 EMEA Cybercrime Report,” as part of the events at the EMEA Digital Identity Summit 2019. The report had some telling results for mobile payments users—and mobile device users in general—in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.

First, it was found that the EMEA is actually less risky to operate in that others, but that’s changing; attack rates are on the rise, especially at the corporate level, where industries are on the list of increasingly targeted vectors. The biggest cybercrime targets right now are growth industries and emerging economies—Poland and the Ukraine were particularly cited—illustrating just how widespread the spread of stolen identity data actually is.

In a noteworthy separation, the United Kingdom—known for its mobile payments use—is actually generating not only higher overall mobile device use, but also lower overall attack rates.

Essentially, the weasels seem to be discovering the EMEA market and are pursuing it accordingly. It’s small surprise that they’re focusing on developing markets and growth fields, because these are also the least likely to understand all the risks. In the UK, where the digital economy is fairly well-established, they likely understand the risks much better and have taken steps to prevent them. Even transaction size is limited with mobile payments use, and that has to help somewhat here by making it that much more complex to commit cybercrime. When you can only steal $20 or so at a time, you’re likely to go where the payoff is bigger.

If nothing else, the report demonstrates the importance of vigilance. Organized cybercrime is not only still a thing, but it’s actively functioning throughout the world. It goes where opportunity presents itself, so doing what you can to not present an opportunity will likely be rewarded in fewer attacks.