A new study by the European Cybercrime Centre backs up most people’s fears, cybercrime is getting worse, more sophisticated, and authorities cannot keep up. The 2015 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) looks at all forms of cybercrimes, but the study does have a section on the financial sector. In the context of ‘pure’ cybercrime, malware continues to be a majore threat. Ransomware attacks, particularly those incorporating encryption, continue to grow in terms of scale and impact. The study finds that it is a major threat

Investigators indicated in the study that information stealing malware, such as banking Trojans, and the criminal use of Remote Access Tools (RATs) are still very prominent. Banking malware remains a common threat for citizens and the financial sector as the profits remain high for the cybercriminals. The study shows that the best way to combat this would be through a coordinated effort between law enforcement, the financial sector and the Internet security industry. This will entail the sharing of banking malware samples and criminal intelligence, particularly relating to enabling factors such as money mules.

The study concludes that when there is new innovation in technology, criminals will rapidly seek ways to exploit it for criminal gain. That means the pressure will become greater as Darknets, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology will provide new attack vectors and opportunities for cybercrime. The attention is not fully focused on cyber security or privacy-by-design. Many of the so-called smart devices are actually quite dumb when it comes to their security posture, being unaware of the fact that they are part of a botnet or being used for criminal attacks.

Credit unions are encouraged to examine the full report. October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.