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Holiday Season Brings New Round of Cyber Threats Featured

With more shopping continuing to shift online, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, cyber criminals will be looking to fill their stockings this holiday season, experts predict.

shopping 3407232 640.jpegAs Fox Business reports, Adobe Analytics forecasts U.S. consumer spending of $189 billion online from November 1 to December 31, up 33% from last year. And a survey of I.T. decision makers by cybersecurity firm Tessian suggests that phishing attacks tend to be more prevalent around the holidays.

E-skimmers, which steal credit card details on shopping websites, already appear to be busy. Cybersecurity firm RiskIQ recently warned of a spate of credit card skimming attacks by MageCart, a consortium of hacker groups who target e-commerce sites.

Another popular tactic this year among cybercriminals is expected to be the use of phishing emails that appear realistically to be from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and other big retailers. The Better Business Bureau has also issued an alert about “Secret Santa” or “Secret Sister” scams that are currently circulating, a type of pyramid scam. The Retail Gift Card Association has cautioned against possible gift card scams, too, recommending that consumers buy gift cards straight from retailers and reputable brands.

The increasing use of online shopping amid the coronavirus pandemic has only widened the potential opportunity for cyber fraudsters. “That actually creates a unique environment for the scammers or hackers to kind of steal information,” Abhijit Nag, an assistant professor of Computer Information Systems at Texas A&M Central Texas, told local KXXV

The holiday shopping season has expanded, and cybersecurity risks have too. As GovTech.com notes, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have stretched into an entire “Cyber November,” as companies like Walmart and Target extend their deals, in some cases all the way through Christmas.

How are retailers responding? DarkReading.com recommends they thwart cybercriminals this holiday season by understanding the risk, implementing zero-trust protocols and looking at their e-commerce sites from a customer’s point of view.

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