[German]Since Friday, November 20, the Black Friday week is already running at Amazon (see). And on November 27th is Black-Friday, when numerous merchants offer their best online and store discounts. Consumers who take part in the year-end spurt of online shopping should internalize a few tips to keep the bargain hunt on the net safe. Because the cyber criminals are prepared and would like to clear in this time likewise.
With the pandemic, online trade has also experienced a further upswing. The crisis has changed shopping habits worldwide. According to a recent survey, 62 percent of all private customers are buying more online than before the pandemic began, and it can be assumed that this proportion will continue to rise in the coming weeks. Because the next major shopping event is already just around the corner: The so-called Black Friday has now also become established in Europe and numerous retailers are announcing their best online and store discounts for November 27.
On Black Friday 2019, more than 93 million customers placed their orders online, with the share of purchases in retail stores down 6.2 percent on the previous year. With the adaptation of marketing campaigns to current social distancing requirements, it can be assumed that the in-store shopping experience will reach an all-time low this year.
At the same time, Black Friday also means a holiday for cyber criminals and fraudsters who focus on online shoppers. A recent study predicts that consumers in the U.S. will spend $148.5 billion on this year’s Black Friday – a tempting prospect for cyber criminals. A flood of aggressive advertising via social media and email can cause consumers to ignore warnings, making them even more vulnerable to phishing, account kidnapping and other scams.
Earlier this year, cyber criminals have proven that they are very good at exploiting current issues. In the first two weeks of March alone, the number of Corona malware reports increased fivefold. In May and June, according to Bitdefender telemetry data, an average of 60 percent of all e-mails received had fraudulent intent. Whether it was a phishing attempt, an appeal for donations or an irresistible offer: cyber criminals took everything out of their bag of tricks to deceive the victims with content and communication around Corona.
Tips for a cyber safe Black Friday from Bitdefender
So before consumers rush into the year-end spurt of online shopping, it is worthwhile to internalize a few tips. The following tips make the bargain hunt in the net more secure:
1. Be careful with QR Codes. With the advent of the pandemic, QR codes are increasingly used – whether to load a takeaway menu or to register for an appointment. QR codes can be used in advertisements and promotions to redirect customers directly to product websites. Fraudsters are taking advantage of this convenient and time-saving shopping method by creating malicious QR codes, redirecting users to fake websites and then stealing personal data or installing malicious code on victims’ devices.
2. Stay where you know your way around. Avoid clicking on links in emails or on social media platforms that advertise special discounts from unknown merchants. Check each email for grammar and spelling and hover over the link to make sure it leads to the right web page or to identify suspicious URLs. Before you register with a seller for an exclusive business access, pay or leave your personal data in an online form, it is worth checking the official website of the manufacturer. Phishing e-mails are the fraudsters’ preferred tool and are a common way to steal personal and financial information.
3. Use a secure network, while you search for offers and products Avoid public WLANs. It is always possible that attackers have compromised the network.
4. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all online accounts and financial transactions where this option is offered This additional layer of security can protect against fraud, even if the attacker has your credentials.
5. Change regularly passwordsfor all online accounts, especially those linked to online merchants. Although this step is time-consuming, you should still be careful to use strong and difficult to guess passwords. A password manager can help you keep track. (I see this point critically – changing passwords regularly does not increase security and is now frowned upon. I would not trust a password manager with my passwords, because of the numerous security flaws).
6. Enable credit card notifications. You avoid fraud by sending these notifications when suspicious or unusual charges are made. If your credit card information is used, you will receive a real-time message so you can prevent fraudsters from causing financial damage.
7. Use security solutions on your devices. This is the first step in protecting personal information locally. It’s the first step in protecting personal information locally, to block threats and ensure that important information doesn’t end up in the hands of cybercriminals.
The above information was provided to me by Bitdefender in a press release. Bitdefender is a leading global provider of cyber security solutions and antivirus software.