Black Friday & Cyber Monday: 8 bits of proof 2015 poses a huge security risk

Every year sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoot up. The money keeps on flowing through. And therefore every marketing team, eCommerce platform, affiliate program and publication leaps on the bandwagon.

Here at IDG Connect editorial, we get spammed with more research, my-company-is-excellent stories and oh-so-tenuous shoehorns around Black Friday than, possibly, any other time of year. The supportive infographics, quick tips and other rubbish fly through at such a ferocious rate… we do wonder if there is anything left to say on the subject.

Well, having trawled through the hundreds of stories that have clogged up the inbox over the last few weeks – and foolishly put out a PR call for more – it does seem this year may prove a greater security risk than before. To be honest this isn’t all that surprising – after all, 2015 has seen more high profile breaches than ever.

However, we’ve thrown our hat into the ring anyway, sifted through the dross, and compiled the most interesting highlights into a quick list below. 

price-tag-1The most sophisticated Point of Sale malware ever identified is due to strike

This comes as a warning from iSight, which says the problems are likely originate from Eastern Europe where POS malware has been kept off the black market to achieve maximum impact for private individuals.

price-tag-2A lot of people are talking about security

“Over 400 social conversations” – by noon today – have “already mentioned Black Friday scams, fraud or phishing”, says Heidi Myers, marketing and communications director, EMEA at Meltwater, which monitors online conversations in real-time. She expects the numbers to rise exponentially to Friday itself.


People are beginning to get scared of Black Friday

“40% of people are put off Black Friday and Cyber Monday due to cyberattack,” reports Blue Yonder in its new research based on a sample of 2,000 respondents.

price-tag-4All the marketing hype makes it easier for criminals to slip in phishing emails

There are so many retailers offering deals in the lead-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that consumers are constantly signing up to various online newsletters so they can be privy to the best deals, explains Mav Turner, Director at SolarWinds. This provides cyber criminals with a perfect opportunity to attack.

price-tag-5Black Friday and Cyber Monday cherry picked to make initial contact with victims

Last year UK individuals and businesses reported losing the equivalent of $24 million to online fraudsters over the Christmas period. The most common time for victims to initially make contact with the fraudster was on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This warning comes from a partnership between Get Safe Online, Action Fraud and the City of London police.

price-tag-6The sheer volume of fraudulent transactions hits its pre-Christmas high on these dates

“There’s more fraudulent financial transactions outside of China on Black Friday than all other days in October, November, and December combined,” says Dan Driver, Head of Perception Cyber Security, Chemring Technology Solutions. “A lot of cyber criminals try to hide purchases made using stolen card details amongst the massive increase in online transactions. I manage a department of cyber researchers, and we see a large increase in attacks designed to collect personal banking information for this exact purpose in the run up to Black Friday.”

price-tag-7Behavioural analytics may help businesses stay secure

“One way to be ahead of the game is to use behavioural analytics to help distinguish legitimate user behaviour from suspicious activity within online transactions,” explains Rashmi Knowles, chief security architect EMEA at RSA. “Risk based authentication assigns a unique risk score to each transaction and based on the score, you may be made to ask for additional authentication.”

price-tag-8If businesses don’t use analytics smartly enough to make more money, are they likely to stay safe?

Tableau research suggests that 24% of UK retailers are not using data effectively enough to optimise sales. This is interesting, when you consider just how much data analytics has been talked about over the last couple of years. It also poses a stark warning for our security – especially when you consider how many CEOs still don’t understand how fundamental a business priority this now is. 


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