Researchers have detected a significant uptick in the amount of South Korean-issued payment card records, with more than 1 million posted for sale on the Dark Web since May 29.
The entire Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is seeing an increase in cyberattacks against brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses, report Gemini Advisory's Stas Alforov and Christopher Thomas. But South Korea is the largest victim of "card present" data theft "by a wide margin."
During the month of May, Gemini Advisory saw 42,000 compromised South Korean-issued card records posted for sale on the Dark Web; this was "generally in line" with what the company had seen over the past two years, the researchers say. However, in June it saw 230,000 records, or an increase of 448%. July brought an even greater uptick, with 890,000 records, or a 2,019% spike from May. Overall, growth amounted to more than 1 million compromised records for sale.
Card present fraud involves collecting payment data from in-person transactions, either by installing malware on a point-of-sale (POS) device or using skimmers on ATMs or POS terminals. It's unlear which POS device led to this spike. Researchers say the records may be from the breach of a parent company that operates in several locations or a POS integrator was breached, granting an attacker access to a single service that connects with multiple merchants.
The APAC region is becoming a hotter target for cybercrime as financially motivated attackers seek victims outside of the United States. While the US remains the most targeted country, its adoption of EMV technology in 2015 has forced criminals to find more vulnerable businesses. EMV chip adoption typically leads to a decline in card present fraud; however, in the US and South Korea, which also introduced EMV in 2015, a lack of merchant implementation has meant card present fraud remains high.
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