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Onfido report notes new biometric fraud trends and ID fraud spike in COVID-19 era

Company observes first in-the-wild deepfake attacks


A report by Onfido has highlighted how the existing global coronavirus pandemic is fuelling identity fraud and also enhancing new emerging fraud trends in the biometrics landscape, including the use of deepfakes and more biometric replay attacks.

The report, dubbed Onfido’s Identity Fraud Report 2020, also proposes developing trends and techniques that businesses need to know and employ in order to protect themselves against such fraud in the years ahead.

Onfido said in the report that its data showed identity document fraud is on the increase, and that fraud rates have risen from 2019, noting that fraud attempts were constant without any signs of slowing down throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The risk of identity fraud is increasing with attacks happening more frequently, the report mentioned.

“Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has had a significant part to play in the uptick of attempted ID fraud. Our data shows that fraud rates held steady for the first few months of the year, then rose sharply from April 2020 onwards,” a portion of the report stated.

“…more people at home and more businesses transitioning online made fertile ground for identity fraud….As large parts of Europe encounter a ‘second wave’ and re-enter lockdown, it’s likely fraud rates will start to climb again…,” it adds.

In the midst of all of this, the report found that professional fraudsters were devising new and more sophisticated methods in order to improve their effectiveness. It recommended that as a result, businesses need to up their game in the fight against ID fraud, suggesting how they should “…handle sophisticated fraud from criminal gangs, as well as high volumes of attacks from non-professional fraudsters.”

As noted in the report, biometrics fraud remains mostly “rudimentary,” but it is a “fast developing risk landscape” as deepfakes were used to attack Onfido’s products for the first time. Replay attacks have also increased, according to the report, and Onfido advises businesses to think about how to tackle coerced biometric authentication in the future.

The company identifies spoofs, 2D and 3D masks, replay attacks and coercion as the four emerging trends in biometric fraud.

Onfido’s report further reveals that financial and professional services were the most hit by ID fraud, but proposes that because of the increasing volatility, businesses across all sectors need to up their vigilance against the phenomenon, as many of them are now shifting their transactions online.

National ID cards were found to be the most frequently defrauded documents, the report adds, citing the Indonesian, Italian and Polish ID cards as the most frequently attacked.

The report concludes on a somewhat grim note stating that because of the many digital transformation projects underway, ID fraud will not go anywhere in 2021, as fraudsters will have the opportunity to make and scale successful attacks against vulnerable businesses.

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