The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has released its latest Internet Crime Report highlighting the most common attack avenues for bad actors, as well as some important statistics to keep in mind in 2018 and beyond.
Since its inception in 2000, the IC3’s crime report has averaged 284,000 complaints per year, or around 800 per day. In 2017, it counted a total 301,580 complaints which reported $1.4 billion in losses.
The in-depth analysis of 2017 Internet crime trends includes: victims by age group; top 20 foreign countries by victim; top 10 states by number of victims; top 10 states by victim loss; preferred crime types by bad actors in 2017; crime type definitions; success stories, and more.
A good chunk of the PDF is dedicated to five “hot” topics the FBI wants to bring to the public’s attention. For instance: Business Email Compromise (abbreviated BEC in the report). The IC3 describes BEC as “a sophisticated scam targeting businesses that often work with foreign suppliers and/or businesses and regularly perform wire transfer payments.” BEC targets individuals who regularly perform wire transfer payments. In 2017, the real estate sector was targeted heavily, with victims reporting losses of over $675 million.
Ransomware also made the list. Recent iterations have targeted specific organizations and their employees through techniques like “spear phishing” and social engineering, making staff training “a critical preventative measure,” the IC3 says. It also stresses that the FBI does not support giving in to ransom demands, arguing that “paying a ransom does not guarantee an organization will regain access to their data; in fact, some individuals or organizations were never provided with decryption keys after having paid.” In 2017, the IC3 received 1,783 ransomware complaints, covering losses of over $2.3 million.
The report also mentions Tech Support Fraud, a type of scam where criminals provide fake customer support to gain access to the victim’s devices, as well as Extortion, “when a criminal demands something of value from a victim by threatening physical or financial harm or the release of sensitive data,” according to the IC3.
Also worth noting is the Elder Justice Initiative, a coordinated action by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its partners seeking to protect elderly Americans from financial threats, both foreign and domestic.
“When criminals steal the hard-earned life savings of older Americans, we will respond with all the tools at the Department’s disposal – criminal prosecutions to punish offenders, civil injunctions to shut the schemes down, and asset forfeiture to take back ill-gotten gains,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The initiative is more than justified, considering that, in 2017, the IC3 received 49,523 cybercrime complaints from victims over the age of 60 who, together, lost $342 million.