Black Friday is soon here, famous all over the world for being one of the biggest consumer spending times of the year. It is also the perfect crime time for cybercriminals to make their moves.
Cybersecurity advice during this time is often aimed at consumers, but there is more than one side to every transaction. Retailers have a duty to protect their customers from scams and all business have an interest in keeping their online environment safe.
Cybercriminals can target websites and plant malicious code and links where consumers click, such as in branded websites and mobile apps. Other tactics is to set up social media profiles and fake websites from scratch. Social media and business emails are two popular ways to attack.
According to Barclay, nearly a quarter of 18-34-year-olds in the UK have fallen for a Black Friday scam in the past five years and shoppers lose on average £661 after falling victim to such frauds.
Over the last years, social media usage has increased, and websites have managed to create more skillful designs, attracting even more consumers. According to Europol, convenience have made selling and buying online a pillar of modern shopping habits. Furthermore, the pandemic has driven more consumers to make their purchases online.
What can you do to stay safe?
Following things are important to look out for while looking for online bargains:
Watch out for fake websites
The cybercriminals can clone websites to dupe consumers into thinking they are shopping on a legitimate site.
(In this blogpost, «How cybercriminals can abuse your trust in popular brands – and how cyan protects you«, you can find further information on our «Brand Impersonation»- Project).
Only use secure sites
Hover your mouse over the URL and check the validity of the web address. Look for a padlock symbol in the address bar and check that the URL begins with a ‘https://’ or ‘shttp://’. The ‘S’ indicates the web address has been encrypted and secured with an SSL certificate.
Beware of phishing emails
Look out for emails offering cash prizes or last-minute deals. These emails are designed to trick shoppers into clicking on a link which may appear to come from a well-known retailer but instead is a malicious one.
Avoid deals that are too good to be true
Look out for emails, pop-ups, or posts on social media promising rock bottom prices. Clicking on one of these links could bring you straight to a phishing site or you may end up downloading malware onto your device.
Use strong passwords
To make sure your device is secure, use a strong password in order to protect it well.
Watch out for social media scams
The cybercriminals know that many people go online to look for deals during Black Friday, so they prepare their online scams especially for this time.
Avoid public Wi-Fi to go shopping
Public Wi-Fi requires no authentication to establish a network connection, allowing fraudsters direct access to any unsecured devices on the same open network. This makes it possible for them to easily steal valuable information.
Ensure all your software is up to date
This will prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your computer through vulnerabilities in older and outdated systems.
Monitor bank statements for fraudulent activity
Cybercriminals know that there will be a lot of online activity during Black Friday, and this makes them hope that any unusual debits from your account will go undetected.