Retailers preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well as consumers eager to shop should be wary of increasing cyber scams, especially when shopping online.
4,151 online retailers were unaware their sites hosted credit card skimmers—code inserted into sites in order to steal credit card information and payments. Malicious actors understand that businesses often offer more financial profit than individuals, which means companies should be wary of Black Friday cyber scams.
Want to learn what it takes to fully protect your business from cybercrime? Learn about developing a cybersecurity strategy in our infographic, Why You Need Layered Security.
Let’s discuss how bad actors take advantage of these holidays to deploy retail cybercrime campaigns and how business owners and shoppers can stay safe.
Mitigating Security Risks on the Biggest Shopping Weekend of the Year
88 million Americans shopped online on Black Friday 2021. Additionally, 43% of the purchases were completed through mobile phones. While online platforms make it easy for retailers and consumers to process transactions, it also means cybercriminals have another avenue to execute retail cybercrime.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the Black Friday weekend has become one of the most lucrative periods of the year for cybercriminals looking to take advantage of the vast number of transactions taking place and the financial information shared as a result.
Cyber Monday Scams are also on the rise. With American shoppers spending more than $10 billion during the holiday, malicious actors found yet another opportunity to take advantage of online shopping.
Phishing scams, fraudulent websites, and unprotected financial transactions are some of the risks retailers as well as shoppers should be concerned about.
Cyberattacks Rising Over Black Friday Weekend
Businesses are aware of the increasing number of attacks that they have to defend themselves from in today’s environment.
Major shopping periods like Black Friday serve up additional cyber risks to businesses and consumers as hackers become more active.
With people spending over $430 on average during Black Friday, elongated shopping hours, and increased mobile commerce, there’s a perfect storm of cyber vulnerability that attackers look to take advantage of.
Consumers themselves are aware of the dangers to some degree. Shoppers have expressed concern that their data may be stolen through fraudulent websites or fake emails. Whether they will take the necessary precautions is another question.
Impact of Cyberattacks on Business
Cybersecurity is a much more prominent issue for SMBs today than in previous years.
Related Post: How to Secure an Ecommerce Website
This is primarily as a result of various factors, principally a far greater sophistication in the nature of attacks and an overwhelming lack of preparation among organizations with regard to their security protocols.
What is more concerning, however, is an apparent lack of vigilance from small and midsize organizations because they erroneously believe they would not fall victim to an attack.
Small businesses are the victims of 43% of all data breaches, and many of them don’t have the capacity to deal with the fallout of cybercrime, which can include downtime, reputation loss, and even business closure.
With attackers upping their efforts over Black Friday weekend, it’s more important than ever for businesses and consumers alike to stay vigilant and protect their data.
Related Blog: Using Marketing and Cybersecurity for Brand Reputation Management
Businesses on Black Friday
With the biggest weekend of the year coming up, this is the time when businesses and consumers must be wary of threats and not open themselves up to attack.
After all, we know how much damage can be done to an organization that is not prepared for the consequences of an attack.
Cybercriminals follow the money. About 90% of cyberattacks are financially motivated.
Financial loss, reputational damage, and legal sanctions for not meeting compliance with regulations like CCPA are all at stake.
It’s more important than ever for companies to take every precaution to ensure they’re safe over Black Friday weekend.
Related Blog: What Does CCPA Stand for and What Does it Mean for Business?
Biggest Dangers for Businesses on Black Friday
The Human Element
The majority of security breaches occur because of the human element. This means people fell victim to social engineering, stolen credentials, or simply made an error—misplacing passwords or misconfiguring accounts, for instance. The human element was involved in 82% of all confirmed data breaches, according to a 2022 report.
Staff represent a big weak spot for organizations, and they should all be trained correctly in how to prevent cybercrime.
This is one of the most popular and effective methods for duping unsuspecting victims into handing over sensitive data.
Hackers take advantage of the sales fervor by using social engineering to manipulate people during the busy four-day period. Staff must be on their guard and prepared for the flurry of phishing attacks across the weekend.
Clicking on a bad link can cost you a lot more than investing on a cybersecurity program. Ransomware poses a big threat for businesses, especially during busy times of the year.
Attacks are expensive and increasing in number—organizations should be extra careful around the holiday shopping season and consider investing in the right solutions to mitigate these cyberattacks.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Retail Safety Tips
Follow the safety tips below to increase security for your online retail business as well as you personal accounts during the rise in Black Friday weekend cybercrime.
Avoiding being the victim of a cyberattack means having employee buy-in at every level, not just IT.
As we just noted, the vast majority of attacks involve an element of human error or involvement.
To combat this, organizations should take every precaution to ensure that their staff are not the reason they are breached—this in most cases will take the form of cybersecurity awareness training.
Security awareness training teaches employees how to spot a malicious phishing attempt and what to do when they recognize something suspicious.
Awareness training is a core aspect of most business security strategies today, simply because it adds an additional hurdle for cyberattackers to navigate.
Malicious actors rely on a law-of-averages approach when attempting to breach people and organizations—phishing scams only work once an end user has clicked a link or interacted with it in some way.
By training a workforce, businesses reduce the viability of social engineering scams against their employees in one fell swoop.
Related: 5 Ways to Facilitate Cybersecurity Training for Employees
Beware of Phishing Attempts
Malicious actors have perfected the craft of phishing—fraudulent emails that use social engineering to extricate information or funds from the recipients. However, this type of email scam does have some red flags users should be aware of. These include:
- A sense of urgency, e.g., “Last chance to get 80% off”
- An illegitimate email address, e.g., [email protected] (notice the double Ms and Ps as well as the addition of “shopp” to the url)
- Grammar or spelling errors
- Suspicious links (hover the cursor over them to see where they lead)
- Seemingly random attachments
What is multi-factor authentication? See our explainer video below!
Multi-factor authentication prevents around 99% of attacks on application accounts, according to Microsoft.
Most current attacks on retailers target wherever the data is located. For many businesses, these are third-party software and platforms where they operate their lines of business.
These applications are high on the list of targets for hackers when they’re looking to gain entry into a network to steal information.
Because of this, it’s crucial that organizations have proper information security protocols so that access to data is restricted appropriately.
This means having access control protocols that state who does and does not have the ability to access data—thereby reducing the number of potential attack vectors.
It also means implementing MFA so that accounts are secured effectively.
Related Blog: Cybersecurity Tips: Passphrase vs Password
- Cyberattacks spike during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Many businesses are still lacking effective measures to prevent the dangers associated with these attacks
- Organizations have a responsibility to protect the data of their customers, meaning breaches must be avoided at all costs
- Staff should be trained effectively so they can spot and deal with a threat during one of the most dangerous periods of the year
If these cybersecurity stats have made you think about your own organization’s security as well as how to protect it, check out our informative blog on Why You Need Layered Security.