Mobile app fraud has increased by more than 600 per cent in the last three years, a new study by RSA Security reveals.

The RSA Quarterly Fraud Report Q1 2018 found that recordings of this form of attack rose from five per cent in 2015 to 39 per cent today.

According to Heidi Bleau, consultant global marketing lead of fraud and risk intelligence solutions at RSA Security, part of the increase is likely down to greater digitalisation of banking and other consumer services. However, she believes it is clear the mobile channel is still more vulnerable to fraud and needs better protection.

Consumer transactions and fraud were found to still be increasing within the mobile channel.  In the first quarter of this year, 55 per cent of transactions originated in the mobile channel and 65 per cent of fraud transactions used a mobile application or browser. Over the course of 2017, mobile app fraud increased by 50 per cent.

The research also found that the average value of a fraudulent transaction was up to 152 per cent higher than a genuine one, and that more than 80 per cent of observed fraudulent e-commerce transactions originated from a new device.

RSA’s report also revealed that phishing accounted for 48 per cent of all cyber attacks observed by the company in the first quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, financial Trojan horse malware made up one in four fraud attacks during the period.

Ms Bleau advised businesses that they will have to invest in protecting the mobile channel. In a blog post, she wrote that as organisations look to roll out new services through this channel, security will be key.

She recommended that firms are careful about what is downloaded onto mobile phones, explaining that “consumers should not assume that because an app is in a reputable store that it is legitimate”. Device users should “always pay attention to the source and what permissions the app is requesting”, she concluded.

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