A look at the terms fraudsters and cybercriminals use for their attacks.
In our quest to build the ultimate fraud prevention solution, we often have to think like fraudsters.
This is why we previously ran a number of experiments to put ourselves in their shoes, including applying for a loan with stolen ID, and buying travel tickets on the darkweb.
In the world of online betting and gambling, arbitrage is a technique which sees fraudsters create multiple accounts to increase their winning odds. Those who use it are referred to as arbers.
A way for criminals to bypass security systems to access the data they’re after. Contrasts with a front door attack, where a virus or attack is done with help from the user, for instance by downloading an infected email attachment.
Leaving a device such as a USB flash drive unattended so it is picked up by an unsuspecting victim. It preys upon people’s natural curiosity, as the drive will contain viruses, keyloggers or other spyware.
The most famous and popular cryptocurrency. While it is often referred to as anonymous, bitcoin (BTC) is actually pseudonymous, which means it is possible to track someone’s payments if you can tie a real life identity to a wallet.
However, bitcoin is still the currency of choice on darknet marketplaces, and it can be “tumbled” to be made anonymous and untraceable.
See also: Tumbler
Also known as a zombie army. A botnet is a network of computers that have been infected with bots (viruses) for mass attacks. These botnets can try to infect more computers or spread spam for affiliate fraud, amongst other reasons. They can also act as a proxy to mask a criminal’s original IP address.
Also called a “burn phone”. The term originates from the drug dealing world, and is used for inexpensive mobile phones designed for temporary use. It allows fraudsters and criminals to link an account to a disposable phone number, for instance to bypass 2FA.
These days, phone numbers can be generated via burner phone apps or services. These work like prepaid phone cards, only allowing you to use them for a limited amount of time before being recirculated. Because they go through your phone’s original cellular data, they are not untraceable.
General fraudster term for using stolen credit card data. This is whether it’s used for direct purchases, or charging prepaid or gift store cards, which are then resold.
What fraudsters call stolen credit card data. A full CC contains the original cardholder’s name and address, expiry date, and CCV. It becomes a Fullz when other personal data points are added to the package.
See also: Fullz
A form of social engineering where fraudsters and criminals create fake online identities to lure people into emotional or romantic relationships for personal or financial gain.
Online seduction and blackmail are used to acquire personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or home addresses, amongst others.
Targeting someone to click a link, either to install malware or for phishing purposes. Often done via funny, shocking or alluring videos that are shared on social media.
Short for cryptocurrencies. A digital asset that uses cryptography to secure financial transactions. It’s often referred to as “digital money”. While it has many consumer benefits (low transaction fee, fast, decentralized), it is also the main currency that fraudsters and criminals use to exchange products and services on the darkweb.
Cryptocurrencies require large amounts of computer power to be created, or “mined”. Some legitimate companies specialize in mass cryptomining through dedicated mining farms.
Cyber criminals and fraudsters, however, like to deploy cryptomining viruses or bots on unsuspecting users’s computers, or even organization’s servers. This allows them to mine at scale, without spending extra money on equipment or resources like electricity.
A network of unindexed, encrypted websites, often dedicated to criminal activities. They are hosted on special domains, and you need special software to access them, such as the Freenet or TOR browser. While there are technical differences between Dark Web and Dark Net, the terms are used interchangeably these days.
A technology that uses real video or audio from a person, and allows people to create synthetic versions of that person.
The entirety of the web that is not accessible by search engines. For instance, online banking pages, legal and government documents, or scientific reports have no reason to be indexed. The Dark Web is part of the Deep web.
DoS / DDoS
A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) happens when a perpetrator floods a service with requests so nobody else can access it.
In a distributed-denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) the incoming traffic flooding the victim comes from many different sources. This makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single source.
The practice of rummaging through someone’s garbage bins to find personal information (account numbers, PINs, passwords). Fraudsters often combine digital attacks and real-life information gathering. This is why it is recommended to shred important documents before discarding them.
The address where fraudsters sent good purchased illegally (for instance with a stolen card). Some will go as far as making an abandoned house look lived in (mowing the lawn, plugging in electricity generator) to use the post box for recovering their goods.
Accomplices in drop address scams are often unaware they are helping fraudsters. They are often recruited through online job offers. The fraudster pretends to be in a different country, and offers to pay the hired person to forward them the stolen goods.
Also known as a Virtual Machine. Software used to appear like (spoof) a device, browser or operating system. This allows fraudsters to repeat multiple attempts at login, signup or payment with with different parameters so they don’t get blocked.
The name fraudsters give to a package containing a person’s real name, address, and form of ID. It usually contains all the information needed to steal someone’s identity.
Installing a program that logs and shares every key pressed on someone’s device. They are used to gather sensitive information such as passwords and bank details.
People who receive money into their account and transfer it elsewhere for a fee. It is usually done for money laundering, which makes money mules complicit in illegal crimes.
Like with address drop scams, money mules are often unaware they are helping criminals. They are commonly found via fake job posts, and hired under false pretenses, for instance forwarding money a charity in a foreign country.
A cyber attack which redirects traffic from a website to another. The second website is usually a copy of the original, designed to gather personal information such as credit card numbers.
The malicious act of stealing someone’s personal data through deceptive emails, phone calls, or other methods.
See also: Social Engineering
Malware that blackmails the user in order to be removed. It is a virus that blocks access to a computer via encryption, unless a certain sum is paid (via cryptocurrencies to enjoy anonymity). The criminals usually threaten to delete important files, or disable the entire computer if the money isn’t paid by a certain deadline.
Malicious software, messages or threats designed to scare people into installing malware and software. A website popup that claims your “computer may be infected with harmful spyware” will send you to a download link for a real malware program.
Also known as Structuring. The process of laundering money by breaking up large funds into multiple bank accounts to operate under the radar of law enforcement agencies.
In the iGaming industry, the term refers to a special kind of multi accounting. It’s for gamers who want to improve their tactics without damaging the statistics of their main account.
Psychological manipulation done through human interaction that gets people to reveal personal information for fraudulent purposes. It can happen in one or multiple steps, and can range from the basic to the complex, where attackers impersonate co-workers or officials.
Format via emails that target a specific organisation, or specific people within an organisation. Spear-phishing usually involves some form of social engineering to gain the confidence of intended victims.
Unlike phishing, spear-phishing emails are addressed to deliberately chosen recipients rather than sent out randomly.
On the surface, a legitimate computer programme. However, it also adds malicious software when it is installed.
A service that moves cryptocurrencies from one digital wallet to another to make it harder to trace back the funds back to the original owner. This is essentially digital money laundering, usually performed for a fee for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
A technology which allows criminals to “make” someone say what they want by creating a synthetic, or cloned, version of their voice.
Voice phishing done via phone calls. Callers will impersonate IT engineers, bank managers, and even company executives, whose voices are synthetically recreated via deepfake technology.
Fraud and Cybercrime Terms: The Bottom Line
This concludes part 2 of our online fraud dictionary. Hopefully, learning the same and terms lingo as your cybercrime attackers will help you foresee about possible holes in your line of defence against them.
And don’t forget to check out the other parts of our online dictionary dedicated to fraud:
- Part 1 of our fraud dictionary focuses on common fraud attacks
- Part 3 is about fraud prevention terms and techniques
You may also download the full dictionary in alphabetical order here.