The UK has been identified as the country most likely to be attacked by cyber criminals, with businesses in the nation facing attacks 50 per cent more often than their counterparts in the US, a new study has found.
Research by ThreatMetrix found that aside from local threats, criminals from as far afield as Nigeria, the US and Mexico are focusing their attentions on British businesses, with the e-commerce sector a particularly common target.
In the second quarter of 2015, fraudulent activity targeted at this sector rose by 20 per cent compared with the previous three-month period, with 36 million transactions attempted. If all of these had been allowed to go through, ThreatMetrix estimated it would have cost the industry as much as £2 billion.
Elsewhere, cybercriminals are also increasingly targeting financial institutions, with online lenders particularly tempting targets. Dr Stephen Moody, solutions director at ThreatMetrix EMEA, commented that this channel is attractive to criminals as it is often insecure and aimed at users in developing countries where traditional banking services do not have high penetration.
He added: "The more businesses and consumers turn to the digital space to store and manage their financial information, the more fraudsters will be on high alert. Ensuring digital identities are effectively protected should be high priority for everyone."
Another emerging area of concern to businesses should be mobile, as this platform now accounts for a third of the transactions recorded by ThreatMetrix. Plus, with more than 20 million new devices being connected around the world every month, this is a trend that's expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
The report notes that cyber crime is now a well organised global phenomenon, with criminals quickly adopting new technologies and tactics to attack businesses.
"With their sophisticated technology and strong knowledge-sharing across organised crime rings, nation states and decentralised cyber gangs, these cyber criminals continue to attack traditional and non-traditional sources of consumer data to stitch together identities that can be exploited," it added.