Every year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick off the holiday shopping season, bringing about a massive wave of online sales. And as excited as we are to hunt for the best deals and purchase gifts for friends and family members this time of year, cyber criminals look forward to the holiday season just as much – if not more. Why? Hackers are acutely aware of this annual spike in online shopping activity, and the opportunity it presents to target unsuspecting consumers with a variety of attacks to steal personal and financial data.
That’s why WatchGuard’s CTO, Corey Nachreiner, is calling for consumers to stay informed and vigilant about the security risks involved with online shopping during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush. In an interview with Q13 TV, Corey highlighted the threats we should all watch out for at every stage of the online shopping journey and how to defend against them. Here’s a taste of his advice when it comes to phishing campaigns promoting retail deals:
You know the phrase, ‘it’s too good to be true.’ Cyber criminals know that too. And Nachreiner said they try to exploit that anyway by sending you bait emails: “Look at the link. If you`re picking a deal at xyz.com, make sure that when you click a link in the email, that it really goes to that domain and not some weird place. I’d even encourage you to be careful, rather than click a link to an email, I’d visit the site directly.”
The tips don’t stop there. Corey also published a guest article on GeekWire, in which he dives deeper into best practices for spotting and defending against scam email campaigns like this, along with other strategies for secure holiday shopping like how to safely complete an online credit card transaction and how to identify retail sites that might be fraudulent or insecure. Here’s a quick excerpt from the article:
“If you’re like me, you spend the majority of the shopping season online to avoid fighting through lengthy lines and crowds of people at brick and mortar stores. However, using your credit card online can be dangerous. In the worst case, the site that’s offering those crazy deals is all a façade, and entering your credit card information will result in thieves draining your account. Best case scenario, you use your credit card on a totally legitimate site, but even then you might not be entirely safe. In some cases, these normal sites store your credit card information on file, only to get hacked themselves, thus leaking that sensitive data to the attackers. Just recently, we saw the Magecart attack, where hackers injected malicious code into legitimate ecommerce sites that could intercept credit card data during legitimate online transactions. In short, there is always a risk when using your credit card online, even when you’re shopping on a real site.
That’s why I don’t swipe my card online without an extra layer of protection, such as third-party payment systems like PayPal.”
For more tips and tricks for secure online shopping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, read the full articles on Q13.com and GeekWire, or listen to our latest episode of The 443 podcast here on Secplicity.