Data Breaches – Types, Sources, and Preventive Measures

Data Breaches – Types, Sources, and Preventive Measures

Learn more

A large number of well-renowned companies are under the threat of high-scale data breaches. After one data breach, it does not mean that the same company could not again be exposed to a data breach. Exceptions are there if that company successfully take in place stringent actions after tackling the vulnerabilities exploited before. An example of frequent data breaches is Yahoo data breach. Statistics show that in August 2016, Yahoo hack was uncovered that took place in 2014. It affected user accounts of around 500 million people. The same company faced another hack in December 2016 due to which 1 billion accounts were affected. In October 2017, this report was updated, stating a total of 3 billion affected users and is considered biggest data breach in history.

With the advent of digital file transfers and reliance on digital communication means by multiple industries, data breaches are residing fairly at a high rate. In the U.S, in 2015 data breaches increased to 781 million which were 157 million ten years back i.e. in 2005. In the same time period, compromised user records increased from 67 million to about 169 million. An aforementioned data breach of Yahoo was absolutely contributing to these exposed records. The company advised its users to immediately change passwords and guarantees its users that it will take stringent measures to eliminate the risks of further attacks.

There is a lose-lose situation when a data breach occurs. It is not only the customers whose information is compromised, not just the deceived organization which is dealing with the recovery of hijacked information, meeting legal compliance needs and doing the aftermath of reputational damage. This breach cycle has to break. Otherwise, the lose-lose situation will never end. 

What Data is Breached?

Personal, as well as a sensitive chunk of information, is breached. The information which online platforms ask to recognize some identity is compromised. This data includes first and last name, email address, residential address, contact number, username, passwords and some encryption keys that are a secret between user and organization for identification purposes. This information is called personally Identifiable Information (PII). 

This hijacked information is sold to third parties and are also weaponized by cybercriminals who use this information to conduct a large number of fraudulent activities. Credit card information is stolen through which fraudsters perform transactions, account takeover frauds are done, real identities are used in several other cybercrimes. Identities of children and adults are used to perform money laundering and terrorist financing. The reason is that these names have not been previously used or involved in any criminal activity before.

Emerging Forms of Data Breaches 

The dark web and emerging data breaches are threatening industries. Phishing attacks and account takeover frauds are looming online websites. E-commerce businesses, online gaming, charity, banking websites, etc. are highly prone to cyberattacks because of the assets it deals with. Any loophole in the system can cost businesses with heavy monetary and reputational loss. Online websites need to ensure that they authenticate each onboarding entity thoroughly against a bunch of checks that are enough to filter out bad actors from honest ones. Along with this, existing users should continuously be verified to make sure that identity is not switched with any fraudulent entity. 

Identity Theft


It is one of the most common data breaches. Identity theft was estimated to be accounted for about 50% of data breaches globally in 2015. It included about 40% of compromised records in the same year. Due to identity theft, a large number of financial institutions are affected. These sectors hold highly sensitive information in which financial information is common. This information if gets compromised results in huge damage for both the victim and the organization. Among this, the second most common type is the financial data breach. The financial sector lost 120 million identities in 2015. Cybercrimes are high in these sectors due to the attracting opportunities that fraudsters look for. The annual loss is an average of $13.5 million, which is highest as compared to other industries.

Phishing Attacks

The emergence of social engineering is giving rise to multiple other frauds. Among which, email phishing attacks and website phishing attacks are common. End-users are targeted with email phishing attacks. A phishing email from a renowned brand is sent to the legitimate customers which ask users to enter their credentials and credit card information. This email is from a fraudster who is trying to hack the account of end-users. This could be done by clicking the malicious link which redirects the user to a website that seems real but is just a clone of that website. Right after suer enter credentials, the account is hacked through that phishing attacks. 

Last year, most of the phishing attacks targeted e-commerce businesses, financial systems, and payment websites. Hackers are all active to exploit weaknesses in the system thorugh innovative tricks. On the same side, online businesses should take in place technological solutions to acter to these tricks.  

Credentials Stuffing

Credential stuffing is more or less similar to account takeover fraud. It is a cyberattack in which username and password related information are compromised and that account is hijacked. Fraudster gets unauthorized access to the account by stuffing combinations of username and passwords through automated requests for login. This stuffing is done by automated bots who fit in every possible combination to hack the account and use it for malevolent purposes. Research shows that stuffing attacks are 8% successful while attempting to account for takeover.

Overcoming Data Breaches with Biometric Authentication

Understanding the nature of data breaches, now there is a need for taking into account measures that mitigate future damage. Considering the common methods of user authentication i.e. 2-factor SMS based authentication ensures security when a user tries to access the account from different devices or locations. But unfortunately, this method of user verification is not most adopted. Only 10% of Gmail users use two-step verification. 

Well, that was one choice, data breaches take place as a result of unauthorized data access. Therefore, this should be catered with the immediate security layer that ensures an authentic user is trying to access the data/account, edit it or delete it. 

Biometric authentication is another option. For identity proofing and online user verification, a prompt, efficient and robust method is to verify the end-user based on biometrics. This could be through fingerprint scanning, iris/retina scanning or face verification.

Face Verification: Through unique facial features, an end-user can be verified. Every time a user gives an access request to the backend system, it will ask to verify the face biometrics. If the traits match, the user will be authenticated and get access to the account. Face verification uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning technology to map the facial features and decide in real-time whether the characteristics match the real user or not. 

Yes, fraudsters use tricks to fool the system, but facial recognition systems are strong enough to cater to those. The tricks of the printed image, or already taken selfie are used, which are tackled through liveness detection. Liveness detection ensures that the user is physically present at the time of verification. This can be done by recognizing the blinking of an eye, minor facial movements, 3D depth perception, etc. It ensures that the end-user is not fooling the system in any way. 

Biometric authentication is the primary step to cut the roots of growing data breaches. All possible cyberattacks are the result of unauthorized access which compromises user data and costs the businesses way more than the technical solution installment. Also, the regulatory authorities are set up to evaluate industries that are prone to data breaches and whether or not they take in place security measures to deter the risks. Identity verification through biometrics contributes to combat the risks of cyberattacks and hefty compliance fines.

Common Online Scams You Need to Know About

Common Online Scams You Need to Know About

Learn more

The explosion of the internet and the world moving towards the fourth industrial revolution have exposed the majority of the businesses and individuals. The user experience and ease of access to everything are driving the major proportion of humans towards the adoption of digital operations. This has created another opportunity for the scammers and fraudsters to look out for some extra cash.

With the increased presence of individuals on online shopping platforms and social media, the swindlers are always looking for a chance to fleece you by any means. With advanced technology and social engineering tactics, the fraudsters have become quite sophisticated. Due to this, most of the scams even seem real and not fake.

Here are some common types of scams that people fall victim to.

Smishing (SMS Phishing)

Smishing, also known as an SMS-phishing attack is becoming common due to the smartphone revolution. In this type of fraud, people often receive a text message from “Bank” or “Card issuer” saying there is some problem with the account or someone tried to access their account and they immediately need to contact with their account information. Even some messages say that you have won a lottery or a gift card from let’s say, Wallmart, and you are required to prove your identity through a call or whatever the message says to avail.
Such messages seem like a real warning from the company, but actually sender is some fraudster hoping to receive the account information from the victim. The same is the case with bogus gift cards. In order to avail that offer, the scammers ask victims to pay the shipping fee or and pay a security fee. Biting into such messages, you will have to surrender your card details to the black hat marketers and scammers leading to credit card verification and CNP frauds.

The Dating Scams

With the expanding trend of online dating sites, cybercriminals are availing this opportunity to scam people in a romance scam and gain financial benefits. Such scams are not limited to defrauding people, in fact, there have been multiple cases where the scammers are professional cybercriminals and use victims as money mules and drug mules without their knowledge.

For instance, in 2016 one such incident was reported in which Edwena Doore fell victim to Kenneth Bruce, whom she met online, and landed in jail for five months for unknowingly laundering $700,000. In addition to this amount, she also lost her own money during her relationship with the offender. As per report, she was warned by the police to stay away from Bruce and she did for the time being and then again contacted him few months later.

In these scams, the scammers and imposters lookout for the real-people and after gaining their trust they start their activities by demanding money. These scammers know really well how to play the emotional card and trick the victims that they are ready to do anything as per the scammers. 

The Hitman Scam 

The hitman Scam is a type of scam in which the victims receive an email from scammers saying that they are hired to kill them and if they want to live then they must transfer money to their account. Though it seems very ridiculous why would someone fell victim to such a message? But the truth is people don’t take life threat easy and that’s what the scammers take advantage of.

To make the threat look more real, the scammers add some information about the person in the message so that the person receiving it would feel under threat. This information is something that people already share on their social media accounts. Due to an active presence on the internet, accessing someone’s information is not difficult anymore. Using this information the fraudsters target people and are successful in stealing money from them

BEC frauds

Business Email Compromise (BEC) frauds are a very common type of frauds, especially in the corporate sectors. To target the entity, the criminals and fraudsters have to do a lot of research. What they do is they present themselves as the representative of some company and send an email or make a call to the victims demanding urgent funds transfer or any other financial incentives.

People easily fell for this scam because firstly the email is from an official account and secondly it is full-fledged planned fraud involving detailed information about the target. Moreover, this scam is executed in a very friendly way. Either the scammers manipulate the targets with their sugar-coated chats or they show the urgency to fulfill their request of funds transfer. 

Free Trial Offer Scam

One of the most common scams is the Free-trial scams which fascinate the users a lot. Finding free trial on the internet that just requires the users to pay shipping and handling fees. Such products and services and really attract the customers and they often register for a free trial. But this is not about it only.

On the backend, there is a lot more. The behavior of a user of clicking “I agree” without reading the whole terms and conditions gives it away to the fraudsters to add the clauses as per their advantage. When you sign up for a free trial, you unknowingly get yourself in trouble with a monthly subscription which is automatically deducted every month from your account.

The World of Charity

The scammers are proactively taking advantage of people’s sympathy and kindness by pretending to be a charity organization. Playing with people’s emotions has never been easy like it is now. By creating fake identities on the internet, the scammers are continuously tricking people into transferring the funds for the orphans and people in need. Many people fall for this scam and end up losing their money to the fraudsters. 

What should you do?

These digital scams and frauds are very common and can target any individual with an online presence. People aren’t the only ones getting affected by these frauds, but businesses are equally on the target list of cybercriminals. Most of such online scams rely on the users to take action. In order to avoid and prevent such scams, the people and businesses need to be educated first about the ways the scammer carry out their activities – i.e. social engineering tactics.

Another way is before taking any action, you must verify the identity of the resource. Especially the businesses must follow proper identity verification services to combat BEC frauds.

Credit Card Frauds- How Can You Prevent It?

Credit Card Frauds- How Can You Prevent It?

Learn more

Ever since credit cards were introduced, credit card fraud has been elevating. One needs to stay a step ahead to avoid credit card fraud because the security mechanisms get tougher hackers to get smarter too. However, it is not always some clever or sophisticated hack that compromises your data – sometimes it’s you! Surprised? Well, don’t be. In an overwhelming number of credit card fraud cases, users themselves have been careless with their passwords and PINs, clicking on fraudulent links, sharing personal data, making them an easy target for such hackers.

Credit card fraud has many shapes and forms. The purpose of doing credit card fraud also varies. Some frauds are done in order to perform a huge transaction and some are done to purchase expensive goods for free. Any financial institution is exposed to a large number of attacks that are performed through credit cards. 30% of credit card fraud are recorded in businesses and financial sectors. Many e-commerce companies face great losses due to credit card fraud.

Types of Credit Card Frauds:

There are different techniques of credit card fraud that are adopted by fraudsters to perform malicious activities.  Following are the most common types of credit card fraud:

Stolen and lost credit card fraud

In this fraud, the card is either stolen or lost. The thief then uses that card for his good. Although stolen and lost cards cannot be used in the machine but it can be used in order to make online purchases. The way to avoid such transactions is to report the bank as soon as possible to reject the request asked from that credit card.

Application credit card fraud

This fraud happens when someone has requested the bank for new credit card issuance. The identity is first stolen by the thief and then use that identity to write an application. Thieves take help from the supporting documents which make it possible for them to write an application through which they substantiate the application. In such cases, banks often call the applicant to identify the identity, which can also be forged by the thief. 

There are many ways to investigate the true owner, although these ways are time to time forged by the fraudsters and vice versa.

Card Not Present (CNP) fraud

If someone has stolen or knows the expiry date and account number of your card, they can perform CNP fraud against you. This can be done through mail, phone or the internet. Some merchants need verification code which is of form xxx. A fraudster can apply all possible combinations while performing small transactions and can get the number.

Fake credit card fraud

Although creating fake credit cards is much hard. There is a magnetic stripe, a chip or in some cases hologram associated with each credit card and to forge it a difficult task. A fraudster having all that information can do this.

Fake Identity

A fraudster uses a temporary address and false name to obtain a credit card. In many cases, banks keep a checklist in which they acquire a passport or driving license for verification purposes. This fraud is hard to do, but a determined criminal can do this.

Stolen ID fraud

This fraud is done by the person who knows your card number and password. He can perform a huge transaction from it or issue a new card from this. This is the hardest fraud when it comes to recovering it. Many times, this fraud is revealed when the transaction is already done.

Counterfeit fraud

An accurate copy of the card is created by fraudsters by having all the required information. He swipes it on the machine to perform a transaction.

 Tips To Prevent Credit Card Frauds:

 Here are some tips to avoid falling yourself prey of credit card frauds:

Card lost or stolen? Report on it ASAP!

When you realize your card is lost or stolen, call your bank and report it right away so they can block it, preventing credit card scam. Banks limit your liability for transactions made on the card, depending on which card you have, from the time of loss to the time of reporting.

Opt for Email Statements:

People usually crumple up and throw away old credit card statements. Shredding your invoice before throwing it away is a good practice. So Always shred your statements as they contain information that can be useful for a fraudster. Do not throw away expired cards as is – always cut them into pieces, especially remove the credit card number. 

Credit card frauds are on the rise. Credit card scammers are getting smarter they use all sorts of tricks from phone calls to Email, credit card skimmer and even Wifi hotspots to steal your personal information. You could be a victim of credit card fraud or falling for it soon and not even know it. All that is required is you to be more vigilant and monitor your transactions. If you find any fraudulent charge on your credit card, contact your card provider without wasting a minute.

Beware of phishing scams:

Phishing is one of the most common methods that fraudsters employ to trick you. Phishing is sending an apparently genuine email with a malicious link that prompts you to enter your card number, code, PIN etc on a fraud site set up just for credit card scams.

According to Mark Hmarick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, there is a constant stream of phishing attacks where someone is constantly trying to lure as into providing the passwords so they can steal funds or commit identity theft.

Always carefully check the source of the call and sender of such emails. If unsure, call the authorized number of the bank and re-confirm to halt yourself from falling victim to credit card fraud or identity theft.

Paying online? Check if the site is genuine and secure

Just as people discover the ease and convenience of shopping and paying online, fraudsters are coming up with innovative ways to online scam people. Statistics from the Australian Payments Network has revealed “card not present” fraud has surged from 1.02 million transactions in the 2016/17 financial year to 1.8 million transactions in the 2017/18 financial year. This represents an increase of a staggering 76 percent year on year.

Thankfully there are some steps you can take to limit the chances of becoming a victim of online fraud. Always ensure the website you’re shopping on is genuine and is secure. In the site address bar, the company name and security certificate details are visible and which you can click on. There is also an image of a lock and the URL begins with https.

How Businesses Can Avoid Identity Verification Fraud in 2019?

How Businesses Can Avoid Identity Verification Fraud in 2019?

Learn more

With a bulk of customers using online services, businesses wish to digitise their operations and provide online modes of payments for their customers. Amidst this digital integration arises the threat of credit card fraud and what business must do to protect themselves from it. The figure for worldwide card fraud losses crossed the mark of 31 billion US dollars in 2018. Although consumers suffer in the worst way through credit card scams, businesses are not far behind and can suffer just as much – if not more.

Fraud Prevention tips for Consumers

Every now and then, almost every entity including governments, banks, financial institutes and businesses issue numerous credit card fraud detection tips for consumers. Individually every credit card user must be smart and vigilant enough see some obvious warning signs for fraud;

  • Beware of phishing scams – never click on links provided via e-mail; they tend to have malware.
  • Beware of social engineering scams. Banks, governments and online retailers never ask people for their personal information (ID card numbers, account or credit card numbers, passwords and PINs) via e-mail, phone calls or direct messaging.
  • Keep your personal information secure and avoid giving out any potential identity information on social media platforms. Block your stolen credit card as soon as possible and report the theft.

As technology has advanced at an exponential rate worldwide, credit card fraudsters have found better and yet more sophisticated ways to commit credit card identity theft. Thus it is equally important for businesses to implement equally advanced fraud prevention measures. Individually every business may not be able to develop sophisticated and effective online fraud protection. In recent years, however, the fraud prevention industry has made impressive breakthroughs in this regard.

Apart from such anti-fraud solutions, companies also need to take some active measures to prevent identity theft on their end;

Monitor Your Transactions

In a world dominated by consumers, most of them have moved away from cash payments and are increasingly using online payment modes. Although the use of EMV chip cards has made it difficult for scammers to commit credit card fraud, they can still find ways around them. For this purpose, it is important for businesses to monitor their transactions, both online and physical. There are a number of warning signs in a transaction that can alert you as to whether it is a fraudulent one.


  • Check to see if the billing and shipping address for the transaction same or different. If so, then why?
  • Also, evaluate the average order size for the nature of your business. If any transaction is larger than the average amount, check to see why.
  • Be careful in case the order has been requested overnight.
  • Be in the lookout if a large number of orders have been placed through the same credit card.
  • Beware if your address verification provider cannot verify the shipping address of the customer.

It is understandable that no business can verify each and every single one of its transactions individually. Particularly if the transaction volume of the business is large, manually verifying each transaction can take an army of human labour. For such situations, it is advisable to avail the services of a verification service provider that can authenticate both the identity as well as the address of every transaction through an automated procedure.

Implement Damage Control if Credit Card Fraud Happens

The only way businesses can completely eliminate online credit card fraud or identity fraud is to not accept credit cards or online payments at all. This is obviously impossible as almost every consumer owns a credit card or prefers to shop online. Therefore, entirely eliminating fraud is an unlikely scenario for businesses as well as consumers. Businesses should be vigilant if any cases of card fraud surface. Firstly, it is always advisable to report the crime to the relevant authorities to take the appropriate action. You should always cooperate with them and provide them as much information about the crime as possible.

Also, be responsive to customers who have been affected by the fraud and provide them with any assistance you can. Listen to their case vigilantly and try to compensate them in any way you can.

Modern Credit Card Fraud Prevention Tools

The market for fraud prevention solutions has expanded over the years. Amidst the solutions currently available for credit card fraud protection, Shufti Pro has emerged as a leading Know Your Customer or KYC verification service provider. It is the best credit card protector for any business and provides a number of verification services to businesses.

It is a SaaS product that provides document verification, address verification and facial recognition services to businesses. Shufti Pro’s AI-based authentication software can verify customers within seconds. Credit card fraud prevention has never been easier. Through customer verifications, businesses can ensure that each of their transactions is legitimate.

Recommended For You:

Fraud Prevention through Secure Payment Processes