November 26

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday: Avoid Falling into Security Holes of Scammers

Excited for Thanksgiving gifts and Black Friday deals? The holiday season seems perfect for a gift exchange, but something might seem a little awkward and off. Are you aware of Scam and Phishing? Cyber Scammers are waiting for you to fall into that pit.

A surge in online shopping has tremendously attracted the scammers targeting Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2019, $9.4 billion was spent by consumers during Cyber Monday shopping. By the end of this year, the National Retail Federation mentioned that 60% of shoppers are planning to spend an average of $998 on gifts all alone. Surprisingly, online shopping has increased by $107 billion after Coronavirus Pandemic. Unfortunately, cyber thieves get a fair shot to steal consumer's card details and other sensitive information. Hackers directly steal data from merchant’s websites like the ones on Nov 19, 2019, where Macy’s customer's card info was captured by the cyberattack.

Here Are Some of The Warnings That Can Help You from Scammers

Pyramid Scheme- A Social Media Gift “Secret Santa”

“Secret Santa” game gained popularity in the workplace where each person buys gifts to a random stranger and keep on continuing the cycle. In 2015 through Facebook posts promising participants would receive up to 36 gifts, in exchange for sending one gift. This scheme pops up every holiday season with different versions like exchanging a bottle of wine, buying gift cards, and many more. When people stop participating in this pyramid scheme, hundreds of people get no gifts and are fooled.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommended reporting these illegal schemes to FB or directly to BBB. Moreover, it is highly advised not to give your personal information and be wary of false claims.

Heard of ‘Juice-Jacking' Malware?

Despite Covid-19, some still travel to celebrate the holiday season. The USB and charging plugs in airports and the common area are loaded with malware where criminals get a chance to export passwords or data once you plugin. Los Angeles district attorney claims that on charging stations or cables they leave plugged in at the stations so they may infect the phones and other electronic devices of unsuspecting users. Even though the device has the system- 'if you trust the connection when you plug it into a laptop or desktop' to charge, there’s always a risk.

It is recommended to use your own cables and your connecting devices. To add up, using an AC power outlet rather than a charging station will help to reduce the risk of getting hack. For traveling and emergency purposes, a portable charger seems to be one of the best solutions.

Tell-Tale Signs of Card Skimming

It’s been a decade now we are known for digitally stealing our credit card information while using our credit/debit cards at stores, ATM pumps. The best example of cyber hacks during the holiday season can be taken from a cyber-attack on Macy’s. Hackers attack the websites through Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. Therefore, they inject malicious code into their website. So, when customers visit the website, it triggers the payload and extracts the customer's data.

Few Strategies Consumers Can Apply to Protect Themselves During Shopping Online

  • Avoid online shopping through public Wi-Fi. The payment process could be obstructed leading to a malicious destination.
  • Make purchases over your home/cellular network only.
  • Use Multi-Factor authentication or alert while making purchases through your cards.
  • Block or disable international purchases without your authorization.
  • Wipe the credit card information from the retail sites.
  • Try using third-party payment methods like PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.

Caution About Phishing – Fake and Fraudulent Websites

The majority of people fall into this Phishing scheme where they receive email or messages with a link directing to a fraudulent legitimate site. When a victim clicks the link then it’s a Bah Humbug! A survey by cybersecurity company McAfee reported that 41% of Americans fell victim to email phishing schemes in 2019. Unsurprisingly, a similar number -- 39% -- reported that they don't check email senders or retailer websites for authenticity.

Some Tips to Avoid These Scams

  • If you receive a message that asks you to click the link immediately to secure your info, then it’s phishing!
  • The message contains some grammatical errors and the subject heading has misspellings. Hope that rings the bell of a scam!
  • Always make sure to double-check if you get a message that ensures you  free gift cards, refunds, or coupons.
  • Compare the email address of the legitimate sender and the email you receive to make sure there are no misspellings or extra characters.
  • Be extra careful when you receive a message that does not have your name but addresses you with generic terms ("Mr." or "Ms." or "Dear Customer").

There are many other ways we can save ourselves from scams. We’ve compiled some of the best tips and tricks to enjoying your holiday seasons safely with no threats of cyber victims.

https://techcrunch.com/tag/cybersecurity-101/

https://cdn.identityforce.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Sontiq_10-Ways-to-Avoid-Online-Holiday-Scams.pdf

https://thedefenceworks.com/blog/black-friday-and-cyber-monday-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/

https://blog.knowbe4.com/scam-of-the-week-black-friday-cyber-monday-top-10-cybersecurity-tips

About Allari

Allari implements customized service plans for IT Operations & Cyber-security which allow you to complete a higher volume of planned work, gain the capacity to innovate and help your business to win.

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About the author

Priya Thapa

Inspired by Allan Turing, who is considered to be the father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, I am very fascinated by cryptography and deciphering secret codes. I have an interest in Network, Application, and Information Security.


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