Despite the negative impact the hard lockdown has had on global economy, the annual Black Friday retail sales tradition is expected to remain popular this year. Instead of limiting sales specials for just one day, many stores have taken to doing Black Friday for the entire month of November. But where there is money to be made, you can be certain that cybercriminals will be watching and looking for opportunities to exploit unsuspecting shoppers.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant social distancing rules will see a predominantly online feel to Black Friday this year. Online retailers are expected to capitalise on people staying at home and avoiding potentially large crowds at physical stores, so the signs point to a surge in online shopping. This presents malicious users with more potential targets than ever to infect with malware, perpetrate identity theft, and steal credit card details. Cleverly-designed phishing scams that masquerade as discounts from popular brands have become almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
“Consumers must remain vigilant whether it is shopping for Black Friday specials or the upcoming festive season. As in previous years, fake sites will be a major source of concern as they become even more sophisticated than those that appeared in 2019. The most fundamental security tip any shopper must heed is that if something sounds too good to be true, it is. For example, 80% off on that smart TV is highly unlikely,” comments Maher Yamout, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky. “Caution and extra vigilance must become part of any online shopper’s repertoire. As hackers continue to exploit uncertainty around the pandemic, users who want to participate in Black Friday must become more security conscious,” – he adds.