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Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Treasure Troves for Hackers

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Treasure Troves for Hackers

December 27, 2023

It should come as no surprise that one of the biggest online retail days of the year also incites a lot of scams and threats targeting not just consumers, but online businesses as well. Let’s go over some of the major statistics surrounding online retail scams and what you should know as you navigate the post-holiday chaos.

Black Friday is Not the Only Shopping Holiday

Historically, Black Friday—the Friday after Thanksgiving—has been the best day to get some great deals and to get a head start on your holiday shopping. As the years have gone by, though, this is less and less the case. This year, Cyber Monday’s traffic levels exceeded Black Friday’s sales by 42%, which is no small feat.

Retailers have tried to extend the shopping season, which is good news for attackers and online threats. The more sales, the more opportunities for people to spend their money online, and the more chances a hacker has to steal financial data.

Cyber Monday: 11 Days of Discounts

COVID-19 has led to many online retailers starting their sales the weekend just before Thanksgiving, thus providing shoppers with more chances to leverage discounts to their advantage. Hackers can take advantage of this extended time to scam people out of their hard-earned money. Cyber Monday is the culmination of these “Black Friday” sales, and it is the single most profitable day for online shopping, resulting in tens of billions of dollars across more than a billion transactions.

Phishing statistics related to Black Friday Week are nothing to scoff at. Multiple sources indicate that in the days leading up to November’s sales, phishing attacks skyrocketed to 300 percent of their normal levels. Combine this with the fact that security is a challenge for many people—especially those who are not technology-savvy—and you have a recipe for disaster.

Let’s go over some notable strategies to identify and prevent potential phishing attacks.

Be Careful of Emails and Messages

First, you’ll want to take the stance that any email that seems even remotely suspicious is a scammer. Make sure the email address is legitimate, and especially be wary if it looks like the message has been altered. Phishing emails tend to originate outside of the United States, so messages generally won’t have picture-perfect grammar and syntax.

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

Another way to stay safe is to utilize multi-factor authentication, or MFA. It creates an additional layer of security for your accounts that can keep hackers from slipping in with a stolen password and username.

Don’t Let Your Guard Down

If you don’t want to suffer from a phishing attack, you’ll have to know what to do and what to avoid. Phishing attacks are known for evolving in various different ways, and you’ll have to be on the lookout for potential new methods and trends. Take the time to educate yourself and your team so that they know what to do about potential hacking attacks.

Verify the Sender

Communication can be a major reason for a successful phishing attack. Most phishing attacks will try to urge you into immediate action, so if you have reason to believe that any message you have is a bit too urgent or suspicious, think twice before doing what the email suggests. You can always contact the individual through alternative methods, especially if the email appears to be from someone in your office or a client/vendor.

We hope these tips help you remain vigilant against the threats posed by phishing and online shopping scams. To learn more, be sure to call First Column IT at (571) 470-5594.

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