Black Friday marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Shoppers are on the look out for the best deals, so are Cyber-criminals. Sales extends through the weekend up till Cyber Monday. E-commerce businesses are gearing up to rake in the Moolah, as the last holidays of the year are the busiest with more people turning up to the web and mobile devices to complete their holiday shopping.
The lead up to Black Friday is a busy time for cybercriminals, and it continues into the festive season. “We discovered 4,000 suspicious Amazon domains and subdomains, and more than 100 live attacks targeting Amazon customers over 11 days in July” – mentions Elad Schulman, CEO of Segasec in a recent blog.
While the consumers and businesses are thankful for the shopping bliss that this season brings along, cyber criminals, on the other hand, are getting proactive to lure them with their scams and exploit them. We have seen in the past how some of the E-commerce giants like eBay, Target, Starbucks, Zappos etc. have fallen prey to the malicious intents of the hackers which led to some serious business implications and bad PR. We further did a research of our own and released a global report, which showed that 95% of global E-commerce apps fail basic security checks.
Here are 7 cybersecurity tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to keep you safe in this holiday season
- DON’T CLICK LINKS IN EMAILS – Emails are a particularly common way for fraudsters to gain access to your credit card information or identity. Hackers send what’s called a phishing email, in which they copy a store’s sale or discount email and include a link to a false portal asking for your info. If you do get a tempting promotion, go directly to the retailer’s website and verify by typing its name in your browser.
- DON’T OPEN ATTACHMENTS FROM RETAILERS – In the same way that you should avoid clicking on email links, you don’t open up attachments from retailers. “Retailers won’t hide deals in attachments – that’s where attackers hide malware,” says Michael Madon, senior vice president and general manager of security awareness for Mimecast and a former cybersecurity director for the U.S. Treasury.
- ENSURE E-COMMERCE WEBSITE HAS AN HTTPS CONNECTION – The data that is sent over a regular HTTP connection, between your browser and the E-commerce website that you are connected to, will be in plain text and therefore can be read by any hacker looking to exploit you. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, where all communications are securely encrypted. Always make sure all e-commerce websites have a valid encryption certificate.
- IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS – Beware of the deals that are too good to be true as there’s a high probability of you getting scammed! Fraudulent scammers pretend to be legitimate online sellers by using a fake website or posting a fake ad that looks too tempting to resist.
- KEEP CHANGING YOUR PASSWORD FROM TIME TO TIME – Ensure that you use different passwords for different E-commerce websites and mobile apps. Make use of passwords that are complex and unique in nature (Eg. Password must contain Alphanumeric and symbols)
- LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION YOU POST ONLINE – When you create a new account on any E-commerce app or website, ensure that you just provide your basic information required to get your account active. There is no need for you to answer security or privacy questions while making a purchase or checking out on the E-commerce app or website.
- AVOID POP-UPS AND ADS – Malware and viruses aren’t just spread via email. They can follow you around the Internet in the form of pop-ups and advertisements — these are actually referred to as malvertising, or malicious advertising. These types of ads can send you to sites that ask for your information, but they can also infect your device with a wide variety of harmful programming such as adware, spyware and ransomware. This is a form of malware that locks up your computer or specific files and forces you to pay to get access back.
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Let’s stay safe online.