Mistakes Exploited by Cyber Criminals on Cyber Monday: Part II

A decade ago, the term Cyber Monday was conceived by the National Retail Federation to bolster sales even after the Thanksgiving weekend, and to create an online shopping equivalent to Black Friday. They implemented their concept by partnering with the media to couple the catchy phrase Cyber Monday with sales and promotions advertisements.

Since then, it’s taken off. Last year, $2.68 billion were spent on Cyber Monday. That’s well over $100 million an hour. 52% of Americans are engaged in Cyber Monday. In America, the sales of Cyber Monday trump both Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales, combined.

What does this all mean? Online shopping soars on one particular day, because of the hungry coupon crowd that makes its way to the Internet; but, while you score an extra pair of fuzzy socks, many are gathered with the intention of exploiting the convenience of the holiday to get your account information. 64 percent of organizations announce an increase on cyber crime on Cyber Monday.

As more individuals get cozy with the effortless exchange of the virtual purchase, a demand for cyber security becomes crucial and certain. Until then, let’s cover the gap by being prepared.

Note, there is a part one to this post. It should be immediately before this one.

Mistake 07: Discovering a new retailer

If you’re a little mystified about a certain retailer your friends are talking about with great deals, don’t just trust them. Remember, those who have been hijacked usually send out emails to their contacts. Verify the retailer by visiting the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission. A little homework can keep you being an A Game Shopper.

Mistake 08: Browsing on unsecured websites

Great websites including WordPress employ SSL, secure sockets layer. That’s a fancy phrase for information encryption. You can which websites have SSL by what the URL begins with. You want to see “https:” and a little padlock. Make a note that wily hackers add an illegitimate padlock symbol to their websites, so familiarize yourself with the whereabouts of the padlock in the browser you use.

Mistake 09: Responding to ads on social media sites

On any given day, 30 million malicious links are posted to social networks. On Cyber Monday, a significant amount of referrals come from social media. According to IBM, shoppers referred to Facebook averaged $99.60 per order, versus Pinterest referrals, which were around $95.30 on Cyber Monday. Facebook referrals converted sales at a rate 38 percent higher than Pinterest.

“The number one reason to click is trust in a brand, which isn’t good,” Melancon warns. “Shoppers need to look beyond the facade of convincing branding to make sure they aren’t being conned into clicking a bogus link.”

Make sure that the advertisements came from the brands you follow by searching Facebook for their page. Remember that hackers can buy ad space on your feed too.

Mistake 10: Leaving your computer vulnerable

Most people do not have their computers protected. That means most people are easy prey to a predator seeking access to servers and valuable information. Guarding your computer from viruses and other malicious code is important. Do it.

Mistake 11: Using an outdated web browser

Some people thoughtlessly click, “Remind me later,” when their computers ask them to allow the update process to commence. This leaves them relatively defenseless. A number of software updates proactively decrease the chances of attacker leveraging known issues and soft spots. Automatic updates are good. Automatic updates are good. Automatic updates are good.

Mistake 12: Using a debit card to do business

Most college kids use their debit card for everything; however, you might not have the same level of protection on a debit card as you do on a credit card. Laws are in place to limit your liability for credit card fraud. In addition, debit cards, which are directly connected to your bank account, may leave you without enough funds to pay other bills. Another benefit of a credit card is to limit the damage by using a single credit card with a low credit line.

Mistake 13:  Forgetting to check your statements

Don’t delete receipts and confirmations from your email. Instead, match them up with your Bank Statements after Cyber Monday to ensure no flim-flam mumbo-jumbo happened. It’s important to catch errors and attacks as they happen so that you can do whatever it takes to fix it.

For further reading:

Bradley, Tony. “Protect Yourself against the Cyber Monday Spike in Cybercrime.” CSO Online. 1 Dec. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <http://www.csoonline.com/article/2853635/malware-cybercrime/protect-yourself-against-the-cyber-monday-spike-in-cybercrime.html&gt;.

Bursztein, Elie. “Behind Enemy Lines in Our War against Account Hijackers.” Google Online Security Blog. Google, 6 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <https://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/behind-enemy-lines-in-our-war-against.html&gt;.

“Cyber Monday Breeds Cyber Crime [Infographic].” ZeroFOX. ZeroFOX Team, 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <https://www.zerofox.com/blog/cyber-monday-breeds-cyber-crime-infographic/&gt;.

“Cyber Monday Statistics and Trends.” Fundivo. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <https://www.fundivo.com/stats/cyber-monday-statistics/&gt;.

Maher, Monica, and Mindi McDowell. “Shopping Safely Online.” US-CERT. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, 6 Feb. 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST07-001&gt;.

Santillan, Maritza. “Cyber Monday: Staying Safe from Hacks and Scams This Holiday Season.” The State of Security. Tripwire, 30 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <http://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/security-data-protection/cyber-monday-staying-safe-from-hacks-and-scams-this-holiday-season/&gt;.

Santillan, Maritza. “Hackers Redirected EBay Shoppers to Phishing Scam | The State of Security.” The State of Security. Tripwire, 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. <http://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/latest-security-news/hackers-redirected-ebay-shoppers-to-phishing-scam/&gt;.

Toothman, Jessika. “How Cyber Monday Works.” HowStuffWorks. 9 Oct. 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/cyber-monday1.htm&gt;.

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