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Fight Like a Pro: How to Secure a FinTech Product from Fraud and Social Engineering

5 minute read

As the Head of Enterprise Infrastructure at Wirex R&D, in Kyiv, Ukraine, my team creates a unique product that combines traditional money and cryptocurrency in one seamless app.  And, as the popularity of Wirex’s products rises, so does cybercriminal activity, including social engineering campaigns, whereby offenders try to take possession of other people’s assets. 

According to official data from the American FTC, cryptocurrency fraud increased to $80 million from October 2020 to May 2021, while investment scam statistics in Australia demonstrated losses of up to $130 million. Meanwhile, figures in the UK reached $1 billion in banking scams in the first six months of 2021 alone. Realistically, it’s easy to imagine that the real figures are even bigger. No matter your location, working in FinTech or financial services as a whole, it’s necessary to provide full protection for existing and future users’ funds.

In this post, I’m going to share the tools we use to prevent fraudulent activity through social engineering campaigns and other methods of attack. 

Download your copy of the Quarterly Threat Landscape Report here!

Social Engineering Prevention Tools 

In 2021, every major social platform allows users to report fraudulent activities. But how effective is manual escalation? In some cases, it may take weeks for a manual escalation to be reviewed. In order for this method to work, platforms must be monitored 24 hours a day, but with billions of accounts, this isn’t a realistic solution. 

Facebook alone has approximately 2.9 billion active accounts. Clearly, it would be impossible for individuals to carry out the fight against fraudsters without an automated approach. For these purposes, our team relies on ZeroFox. Their platform uses machine learning and is configured to protect brands, domain names, and employee data online. Here’s how it works in a practical sense. 

Fighting Duplicate Websites 

Cybercriminals often create exact copies of websites to obtain confidential user data and seize funds. These events negatively affect a brand’s reputation which is why it’s so important for us to prevent these breaches from happening. 

Over the past six months, we have closed 29 duplicate sites preventing a huge number of scams based on these fraudulent platforms. 

Examples of private domains / Closed domains examples  

Combating Social Media Impersonations

Cybercriminals also exploit social networks to conduct schemes aimed at defrauding our customers: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Telegram, are just a few of the platforms where fake accounts pop up.

The statistics below show the number of fake accounts that we have been able to block on various social networks from May to November 2021. As you can see from this graph, we gained value right from the start – we immediately blocked a substantial number of older and pre-existing accounts. To date, fraudulent activity has dropped due to our effective work in this direction. 

Widespread Fraudulent Schemes 

Cybercriminals ordinarily prepare scams in advance. First, they may create a profile on social networks, in our case, introducing themselves as Wirex or as one of our official employees. Then the scammers connect with their targets before contacting them or mentioning them in their posts. A common tactic we’ve seen is to tag a person in a post and tell them they have won a prize of some kind. At the same time, the attackers register the aforementioned sites and domains to carry their scam through. 

Detailed Example Circuit  

As mentioned, site and social media impersonations remain among the most common fraudulent schemes we see in the FinTech space. For example, a fake social media page  might highlight a fake promotion and wants to award the target $1,000. But to pick up the winnings, the person is directed to contact the company via a specific link. After making contact, the scammers ask the client to log in to the fake site using real data from the service, where the fraudsters then obtain the victim’s username and password. Even if the person has enabled two-factor authentication – which we strongly recommend – the scammers will attempt to get the victim to provide their secret code for “verification.” Once the hacker has access, they will reset the password and withdraw the victim’s funds.This scam works for a huge number of online resources. 

For Wirex, our ZeroFox monitoring and customised process allow us to track the threat in the shortest possible time. Then we contact the support service of the appropriate social network to block the attacker’s account for fraudulent activity. 

One of the distinctive features of fraudulent schemes is the copying of branded images onto fake pages. This action significantly speeds up the work of scammers since they do not need to invent anything to attract the attention of victims. 

To avoid such situations, we preload all marketing materials into search filters through ZeroFox, which help us catch fraudulent pages even faster. 

What Results Have We Achieved? 

Previously, our marketing managers contacted support teams from each social media network to inform them about the fraudulent accounts. We proved that we were the official representative of the company, and the page in the report was fraudulent. However, it was impossible to track the activities of all fraudsters and manually prevent their malicious actions. 

With ZeroFox, the process is now automated, so our technical support can make decisions based on their developed job descriptions. This allows us to escalate individual cases within the company. 

In total, during the work with the cybersecurity tool we have: 

  • Analysed more than 800K content matches, 
  • Generated and processed more than 15K alerts, 
  • Closed more than 3K fraudulent social media accounts.  

Reviewing the results of our work, most financial institutions should consider the implications of social engineering for the safety of their clients. Nowadays, this is now the most common type of fraud, and not only does it affect users, but it also damages the company’s reputation as well.

To learn more about how ZeroFox can help you stop social engineering campaigns in their tracks, get a demo today. 

See ZeroFox in action