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Report: One in five cloud-based user accounts may be fake

Report: One in five cloud-based user accounts may be fake

Image source: ThinkStock

According to the Q2 2018 DataVisor Fraud Index Report, more than one in five user accounts set up through cloud service providers may be fraudulent. The report, based on information gathered between April and June, analyzes 1.1 billion active user accounts, 1.5 million email domains, 231,000 device types and 562 cloud hosting providers and data centers, among other indicators.

DataVisor, a fraud detection platform, found that 22 percent of accounts originating from cloud service IP ranges appear to be fraudulent. Malicious accounts are eight times more likely to originate via cloud services than normal users. Some cloud services and data centers can have more than 75 percent fraudulent accounts, the study found.

More than 21 percent of fake accounts targeting online and financial services originated from the United States, and 17 percent originated from China. In attacks targeting North American online services, more than 45 percent originated in the U.S. Interestingly, crime rings leverage different cloud service providers depending on the attack. Fraudsters targeting social platforms largely use Amazon Web Services; DigitalOcean appears to be preferred by fraudsters targeting mobile apps and financial services, according to the report.

Coordinated attacks – a group of fraudulent accounts controlled by the same attacker – represent the majority of fraudulent activity in both social platforms and financial services, the report found. More than 90 percent of fake account registration in social platforms involves coordinated attacks; in the financial sector more than 40 percent of application fraud comes from coordinated attacks.

While most fraudulent attacks occur less than a day after account are established, some “sleeper cell” accounts can lie in wait for months or years before being used. On average, fraudulent accounts incubate for 35 days before attacking.

“[This report]” demonstrates that the increased adoption of the cloud has unintended consequences for the financial well-being of online businesses,” says Yinglian Xie, CEO and co-founder of DataVisor. “DataVisor is committed to educating businesses on trends in online fraud by providing regular quarterly reports on existing and emerging vectors of attack.”

To read this and other DataVisor reports, click here.

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