Amidst the incessant hustle and bustle of holidays, while most organizations and consumers are busy enjoying the merrier times, cyber risks are subtly growing and getting ready to chew up on consumer experiences and company profits. Last few years have witnessed a global spike in cybercrimes during peak holiday seasons especially around Christmas and New Year. The trend is assumed to continue and increase this year. As the number of transactions increase, ignoring any cybersecurity guideline could mean severe losses for the company. The possible risks include DDoS attack, theft of Personally Identifiable Information, Point of Sale breach, Website Outage, Return and Refund Fraud and Credit Card breaches. It is ironical that the merriest time of the year is probably the riskiest phase for cybersecurity.
Staying Prepared for the Holiday Shopping Scams
Holiday seasons is an excellent opportunity for the organizations and attackers alike. While the companies gain a lot of traction and customers during this period, attackers and malicious parties readily leverage the security glitches and lack of attention towards cybersecurity, for initiating various shopping scams.
Enlisting the Potential Threats
Holiday season soars both in-store and online buyers. But with e-commerce businesses offering convenience and better pricing, the whole online shopping arena witnesses a surge in traffic around these times. With this high consumer activity on the web, the risk of cybercrime also grows exponentially. While the stores too are prone to cyber-attacks, the threat to the online shopping world is way too high. Some key threats to watch out for this season are:
1. Malicious E-Cards
Most common of them all yet the most damaging one – malicious holiday cards still victimize many digital users. What may look like an e-card wishing you for the season, might be a trap to victimize you. Clicking on any link to access the so-called e-card can lead to hacking of your systems.
2. Corrupt Coupons
Hackers exploit the irresistible human behavior towards freebies by luring them with discount coupons and demanding personal information. In the greed to get free coupons and extra discounts, many users often click on malicious links and provide personally identifiable information thereby leading them into the trap of cybercrime.
3. Fake Sites
It is important to verify the sites before buying stuff and making payments. Many cyber criminals make malicious sites resembling the real ones and dupe consumers of their money and personal details. Certain Phishing emails lead users to these fake sites.
4. Fake Products
Another big scam that picks up especially during the holiday season is that of fake products being sold online. Branded stuff come at unbelievable discounts which attract buyers immensely. However, the truth is if the deal sounds really unbelievable, it just might be so, and you may be paying up for a fake product which costs much lesser than what you are paying.
5. Existence of AdBots
Digital expenditure skyrockets during the holiday seasons and this is followed by a rise in the number of malicious bots. Most cyber attackers camouflage these bots as humans to avoid detection.
6. Compromised Credentials
According to surveys and reports released by Adobe Digital Insights, 2017 will see holiday expenditures and e-commerce hitting a record figure of $107 billion. The extensive holiday list is a breeding ground for experienced cybercriminals who create opportunities for infiltrating the corporate systems. Some employees use corporate credentials to keep track of the seasonal purchases and in the process mistakenly open-up the databases to newer threats. The peak season, therefore, shows up with newer threats and compromised credentials. Attackers usually target marketing groups which have a lot of competitive intelligence and customer data reservoirs to work with.
Additionally, it is worth noting that a downtime, especially during the holidays, can have catastrophic consequences for businesses. This holiday hazard results out of surging transactions and traffic with businesses facing massive network downtime issues. Companies must be watchful of a DDoS attack where the majority of services offered by a company can be terminated by criminals. This would not only result in the business loss but also customer frustration and a scar to the company’s reputation.