Increase in data attacks put Aussies at higher risk of Black Friday scams

Garrett O’Hara, Chief Field Technologist for APAC at Mimecast

Under the current climate of high-profile cyberattacks on Aussie businesses, cyber security expert Mimecast is warning consumers and businesses to be extra cyber savvy this coming Black Friday/Cyber Monday to be on the lookout for scams. Recent data from the email and collaboration cyber security provider’s threat research team has revealed that social media platforms, and delivery businesses, are most likely to be attacked or impersonated this year.

Why is the season ripe for cyberattacks?

Garrett O’Hara, Asia Pacific Chief Field Technologist at Mimecast, commented that conditions are ripe for cybercriminals to be even more opportunistic than in previous years. “Everyone should be on the lookout for scams this Black Friday, but in particular those who have had their personal data compromised or leaked this year,” Garrett O’Hara commented.

“Unfortunately, once your data has been exposed this opens the door for more threats, and with the pressure of Christmas shopping upon us, it’s easy to quickly click on a link to try to save some time,” Garrett O’Hara further added. O’Hara said scams could come in the form of fake emails and text messages about delivering in a bid to capture consumers’ details.

Looking at the available global data, there also appears to be an increase in attacks on:

  • Technology brands (272k in the first half of 2022 compared to 139K in all of 2021)
  • Logistics (131k in the first half of 2022 compared to 35k in 2021)
  • Financial brands (105k in the first half of 2022 compared to 138k in 2021)

How can consumers stay clear of cyberattacks?

Mimecast has these tips for staying safe and bagging a deal instead of a headache:

Don’t blindly rely on the URL

Have you received an e-mail from a well-known retailer? Will you really end up on a retailer’s website via a link in an email? It’s best to not blindly rely on the authentic appearance of a URL and e-mail address. Through ‘spoofing’, cybercriminals can fake these things easily.

Be careful with urgent offers

Cybercriminals often try to create urgency so that the target is less attentive. During Black Friday and the Christmas holidays, for example, they do this with temporary offers. Are you pressured to buy something quickly or click on a link? Then something may not be right.

Scan the website for language errors

Many fake sites are very convincing. It’s not always the case that there are spelling errors. Strange texts, poor translations and language errors can indicate that it is a fake site.

Secure is not the same as safe

A lock symbol in the address bar indicates that the website uses a secure https connection. But a secure website can still be dangerous. Even with the presence of the lock symbol, it’s possible your device can be infected with malware or that the website tries to steal data.

Navigate to the official website

Instead of clicking on links, it can be safer to go to a website by typing the URL into your browser. If you receive a suspicious email, you could check with the retailer direct. You could email their official address and start communications rather than responding to their email.