The Financial Industry’s Phishing Problem

According to an article by SecureList, the rate at which cyber-criminals are attacking the financial industry has doubled since 2012. 

How are these scammers doing it? One word: phishing

Phishing, or creating fake copies of sites to obtain confidential user data, is a common cyber threat. This is largely due to the fact that to deploy the most simple pushing campaign, cyber-criminals do not need to have programming knowledge. As phishing is based primarily on forged websites, it’s enough to just have web design skills.

For example, an article by SmartImageMoney showed how one phishing attack that used a Virginia based payment processing company sent out 167 million forged emails in a single day. The emails contained company imagery and content taken directly from their website – luring victims in with the company’s well known, and trusted, logo.

Widespread brand recognition is one of the mail tools of the phishers: the more popular the brand, the easier it is for cyber-criminals to use its name to lure users to fake websites. In 2013, 25 banks attracted about 60% of all attacks. These 25 organizations are the largest international banking brands around, operating in dozens of countries worldwide.

The worst part? Depending on the type of phishing, cyber-criminals can net up with $70,000 of consumer’s money from a single attack.

With numbers such as these, it is evident that phishing isn’t going anywhere and that consumers can expect the number of incidents to steadily increase as more money is made. To fight back organizations need to actively educate their consumers while taking advantage of systems that offer both website verification and two-factor authentication. 

To learn how to financial institutions can help fight the threat of phishing, please join our webinar here or visit www.AuthentiGuard.com  

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Consumers Demand Change

by Pat McInally, DSS Director of Sports and Entertainment
949-466-2460

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Counterfeit products in the sports industry are at an all time high. In just the last few months news broke about: 2,000 fake FIFA World Cups floating around China (Source), a $21.6 million seizure of fake NFL merchandise (Source), and a bust of online counterfeit baseball cards (Source). Every major sports industry is being effected.

Many fans purchase memorabilia in the hopes that it will someday be worth much more. Unfortunately, counterfeiters use inferior materials and craftsmanship to produce look-alike products that hold little to no value.  Honestly in these cases, the only place consumers’ support for the team is going is into the pockets of criminals.

And the consumers are not happy about this. According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of DSS in January of 1,000 smartphone owners,  over nine in ten (92%) smartphone owners agree – 72% strongly so – that they’d be angry if they bought someone a product and it turned out to be counterfeit/fake. Counterfeited brands don’t come away untarnished: over seven in ten (72%) say that if they received a counterfeit or fake item from an online retailer, it would lower their trust in the brand being imitated. 

Where are the majority of these counterfeits being sold? The internet. With auction sites and the never ending realm of the web, it has been nearly impossible for consumers to protect themselves from unknowingly purchasing these knockoff products.

There is hope though – according to the same Harris Poll, nine in ten (90%) smartphone owners say they’d have more confidence purchasing a product online if they could verify that the seller was ‘authorized.’ And DSS’s AuthentiSite offers just that. 

A brand who licenses AuthentiSite can employ the mark to its authorized dealers for use on their websites. This revolutionary authentication technology engages the consumer by allowing him or her to validate reseller websites quickly and warning them if they are on a fake site all through an easy to use smartphone APP- giving consumers peace of mind and further trust in a brand. 

Research Methodology: 
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Document Security Systems, Inc. from January 2-8th, 2014 among 1,015 U.S. smartphone owners ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please call the DSS Corporate Office at 585-325-3610.

ONLINE COUNTERFEITING – WHO IS TO BLAME?

Online shopping is a growing trend and counterfeiters are taking full advantage, launching sophisticated, bogus websites daily. These websites serve as an outlet for counterfeit goods and phishing attempts that scam everyday consumers into paying money for a product with little to no value – if they even get a product at all.

As this problem grows, the question arises – who is to blame? Is it the consumer for buying the product or the counterfeited brand for letting it happen?

Document Security Systems, Inc. (DSS) took a closer look at this issue and conducted a research study examining what consumers thought about online shopping security.

According to our online survey, conducted on our behalf by Harris Poll in January among 1,000 smartphone users (18+), 71% of smartphone users stated that merchant websites are at least somewhat capable of preventing online purchases of counterfeit merchandise.

While the vast majority of smartphone owners (86%) believe a manufacturer has a responsibility to ensure retailers claiming to sell its products are selling “the real thing,” we find that many brand owners feel that consumers should know the age-old saying ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

However, this ‘buyer beware’ mentality leaves the consumer exposed unknowingly and in turn, can erode their trust in the brand. Without consumer education programs in place, consumers have little knowledge of what to look for in a legitimate website, or just how real this problem is.

Take for example the trusted marks of a genuine website, such as SSL certificates and verified symbols. Almost half of smartphone owners (48%) believe these are signs that an online retailer is genuine. What they don’t realize is just how easily these marks are duplicated and placed on fake websites – concealing the counterfeiter. With little to no effort, these symbols can be dragged and dropped from a real website to a fake one.

At the end of the day, brand owners need to keep consumers’ trust in order to stay in business. One way to do that is by taking a strong stance against counterfeiting. According to the same study, 88% of smartphone owners would have a better opinion of a brand they feel is taking steps to make sure their products are not counterfeited.

For more information on how brand owners and consumers alike can curb the issue of counterfeit websites and product, please click here

Research methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Document Security Systems, Inc. from January 2-8th, 2014 among 1,015 U.S. smartphone owners ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please call the DSS Corporate Office at 585-325-3610.