Protect yourself against the Cyber Monday spike in cybercrime

bf cyber monday doorbuster

Today is Cyber Monday. The first Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, and the official Black Friday kickoff of the holiday shopping season marks a day of online shopping, and Internet bargains. It is also a day that cybercriminals escalate activity to target and exploit the increase in online commerce.

ZeroFox put together an infographic that illustrates the value of Cyber Monday for online retailers, as well as the dramatic spike in malware and cyber-attacks. As ZeroFox puts it, Cyber Monday is the cybercriminal’s version of shooting fish in a barrel. “Credit card numbers are tossed around like beach balls at a music festival, and shoppers will click on anything that looks like a coupon.”

How big is Cyber Monday? Well, the recent bastardization of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday traditions has diluted it some. What used to be limited to a single day of once-in-a-holiday-shopping-season bargains is now just a day of better than average deals that you’ll probably be able to meet or beat any time between now and Christmas.

Even so, Cyber Monday is a big deal. According to ZeroFox, there was an average of 850 million page views per minute during last Cyber Monday, and the online shopping event raked in nearly $2.3 billion for retailers. Cybercriminals want a piece of that $2.3 billion pie as well.

ZeroFox claims that it only takes a skilled attacker about 10 minutes to craft a convincing fake social media profile, complete with a “DISCOUNT” link. Armed with only that, the attacker can mount a relatively convincing phishing or malware attack.

Almost two-thirds of the organizations surveyed by ZeroFox report an increase in cybercrime activity on Cyber Monday. According to the ZeroFox infographic, phishing attacks skyrocket by as much as 336 percent around the launch of the holiday shopping season, and there are more than 30 million malicious links send across social networks daily.

If you’re a business trying to sell products and services online to customers during the holiday season, it’s time to step up your security game. Here are three tips from ZeroFox to guard against holiday season cybercrime:

1. Monitor social media for malware or phishing posted with your hashtags, images or messaging.

2. Protect customers by over-communicating with them about your official sources for deals and discounts this season.

3. Look for impersonator accounts on social media and work with the social networks to take down fraudulent accounts.

Let the holiday shopping frenzy begin (or continue since “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” now begin sometime around Halloween).

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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