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Thanksgiving and Black Friday holiday cyber crimes

November 23, 2018 | By Alex Pena

Holiday 2018

Beware Of Fraud Attempts

Our favourite season of the year is around the corner and many online shopping deals are difficult to pass over. Shoppers look for exciting offers to buy their favourite gadgets, home needs, toys, clothes and whatever other products they have had their eyes on in the past.

The days when people go as a family to purchase their favourite things from their favourite store are scarce due to the ease of online shopping which offers people the ability to shop in the comfort of their homes and at all hours of the day and night.

Yet this convenience is also shared by those looking to do nefarious acts.

Hackers find sophisticated methods to steal sensitive information from users and organizations for monetary benefits. They take advantage of the online shopping surge during the holiday season as shoppers are on the hunt for incredible savings.

As consumers and merchants prepare for the busiest shopping season of the year, they should practice caution and be weary of bad actors that create fraud websites and emails that claim to provide offers and deals that are too good to be true.

It’s prime time for fraud attempts that peak on Thanksgiving Day, starting on Black Friday and last through Cyber Monday. It is imperative for both consumers and website owners to be extremely cautious and aware of any possible fraudulent scams.

Famous Black Friday Shopping Scams

Everyone loves a great deal. Most great deals are tied to a limited time offer requiring immediate action on such deals. Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are no different. Shoppers are quick to ‘pull the trigger’ to buy and snatch up that limited time offer that only comes along that one day of the year.

This presents an opportunity for online scammers to exploit the weakness of careless shoppers and website owners.

A myriad of malicious Black Friday websites and apps loaded with scams are crafted by the scammers to steal sensitive data like credit card information, personal data, login credentials and even the most confidential financial information.

During the demanding season of the year like Cyber Monday and Black Friday hackers develop malicious landing pages masking it with well-known reputed brands so that it looks extremely similar to those genuine sites. Their offers look so close to the ‘real deal’ that it may be convincing enough so that shoppers are fooled into downloading malicious apps or even worse trick buyers into giving them their sensitive data.

They find ways to circulate the scam mails through social media platforms like twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc, days ahead of Black Friday claiming false promises with deals like 90% discount on Amazon.com. Consumers must be extra careful that team from Amazon tweeted "Please don't share your order/account/personal details in such websites."

Another commonly used hack technique is when a Black Friday scam frame scam URLs - whereas the URL is short. Mobile browsers who do a lot of browsing on the mobile phones come across short URLs on their phone. The fact that the URL is shorter makes it easier for the customers to overlook the full URL on their mobile device, making it challenging for them to see the true address of the site and thus unable to identify whether it is genuine or simply another scam site.

Ways to Protect Yourself This Black Friday

Have a check on Your Smartphone:  Your smartphone allows us to have all of our sensitive data at the palms of our hands. But then this can also be accessible to unwanted users. Hackers find it as a resource for sensitive information and find ways to gain access to your smartphone. It is therefore more than necessary to run security checks on your smartphone, even if you have installed the latest of security technologies on it.

Verify Websites – There are some online Black Friday deals that are too good to believe. These unrealistic deals are crafted to redirect you to malicious website as you click on it. Stay away from such phishing scams.

Take Precaution when you swipe – EMV chip cards were introduced for better protection of POS. Cyber thieves target merchant POS processing system to steal card information. Use of one-time passcodes would render protection as the passcode is valid only for limited time as a result, malicious hacker cannot gain access even when the passcode is stolen.

Use secure Wi-Fi connections – Avoid staying connected to the internet through public hotspots – in specific, avoid dealing with financial transactions or online purchases or anything to deal with sensitive information when connected to a public hotspot.

Check Your Account Statements Regularly – Have a regular check of your credit card statement to check if there are any fraudulent transactions.

Update software - You might have the latest security software installed in your system, however, it is more important to ensure that all the software including the security software are all up-to-date. As hackers find way to exploit the vulnerability found in the outdated application or software.

Black Friday advice

Black Friday advice to retailers

  • Understand your clientele, and know what your compliance requirements are
  • Encrypt customer data both when static and in transit
  • Ensure an effective cloud security is in place and takes control of your encryption keys
  • Implement penetration testing and vulnerability assessments on all the devices and network.
  • Recruit inhouse data security experts

Black Friday advice for shoppers

  • Avoid clicking unsolicited links or attachments
  • Beware of suspicious emails or pop-up ads on websites that claims to promise deals that are too good to be true
  • Think before you click on any advertisements – and do not fall for the tagline – “This day only!”

How to Stay safe in the wild

Here are some simple tips to follow to stay safe in the wild

It’s a no rocket science for businesses and consumers to stay safe and ahead of Black Friday online frauds

Be Wary by default – Do not open any suspicious email and it is always a good practice to go directly to the retailer’s website by typing in the website address on the address bar.

Create separate email address – If you are interested to get notified on the Black Friday alerts, it is advisable to create a separate email id for the same.

Use separate Credit card – If you are an online shopper, it is advisable to have a separate credit card exclusively for online purchases. This would mitigate your losses when attacked.

Deliver Security Awareness Training – It is important for all the employees to be aware of the possible cyber threats. Enforce effective training methods to train employees and other users of an organization to protect the company and customer data from security breaches.

Happy Black Friday, So Here are the Big Offers

Google Play offers some discounted entertainment in honour of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can check out the deals through Play Store Cyber Week portal. And there are many more deals yet from Amazon and Walmart for more Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday savings.

Above all it is more important to stay secure while you are busy availing discounts online –use an effective security solution like cWatch website security application software.

Online shoppers can check the security of a website through our website security scanner. The cWatch Web Site Scanner will scan a website in minutes and give you’re a security score rating to give you better insight as to whether the site has protection enabled.

Website owners should provide a safe and secure online experience for their visitors. cWatch Web is offering an incredible Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal on their yearly PRO plan. For less than $1 a week websites can now be protected against hackers and malicious malware with enterprise grade security solution.

Now more than ever its important for both shoppers, business owners and brand owners alike to establish a safe and secure online experience.

Enterprise website security

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