Growth in human-initiated bot attacks outpaced growth in automated bot attacks in the second half of 2021. That’s according to the latest Cybercrime Report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions. Automated bot attacks globally increased 32% for June through December last year over the same period in 2020, trailing the 46% spike in human-initiated attack volume.
Specifically in North America, which is the United States and Canada in this report, human-initiated attack volume increased 50% over the 2020 period while automated bot attack volume actually decreased 7%.
Trying to figure out why is tough. “It is difficult to ascertain why certain trends occur in terms of increases or decrease in certain type of attacks (human initiated vs. bot),” Soudamini Modak, LexisNexis Risk Solutions director of fraud and identity, says in an email to Digital Transactions News. “Overall, attack volumes show a mix of human-initiated attacks and bot attacks. For North America specifically, we saw a large increase in the human-initiated attacks where fraudsters were likely trying to blend in with regular traffic instead of using automated techniques to commit fraud. Also, nearly 50% of our total transactions come from North America region. Given that, the percentage of bot transactions was still significant compared to global bot volume.”
The report analyzed 15.3 billion transactions in North America, a 22% increase from 2020. Of these, 66% were made with mobile devices and 34% with desktop devices. This closely mirrors the global makeup, in which 75% of transactions were mobile and 25% desktop. “We have seen a huge increase in online transactions in [the] last two years, with new devices and new digital identities. This was a mix of brand-new users adopting the digital channel for the first time and existing users using additional devices,” Modak says.
Among the methods consumers use to interact with online providers—logins, payments, and new account creations—transaction volume increased while the attack rate varied. New-account creation transaction volume increased 4% from the second half of 2020, but had a 9% attack rate. Payment volume was up 35%, but had a 3.2% attack rate. And, while login volume was up dramatically, a 51% increase, its attack rate was only 0.5%.
For the United States and Mexico, the attack rate of 1.2% was almost the same as the global figure of 1.1%. Mobile transactions accounted for 75% of events cataloged in the report. In 2014. mobile traffic was only 25% of the total. The report analyzed 35.5 billion global transactions, up 44% year-over-year.