The Holiday Season Is Just Around The Corner..

Since the origination of the two largest shopping holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both have seen an immense amount of growth. Global interest in Black Friday has risen year after year, with an average five-year growth rate of 117%. Last year’s Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales alone, with Cyber Monday breaking its own previous records with $7.9 billion.

While foot traffic decreased last year for physical retail stores the week after Black Friday, more shoppers turned their attention to the internet to participate in their yearly holiday sale hunting. During said week, mobile orders made up 45% of revenue, with desktop/laptop browsing making up for 47%. Even tablet purchases made up 8% of the total revenue.

So, why are we talking about this? This year’s projected Black Friday and Cyber Monday will bring in close to $22 billion. As you can imagine, such a large cyber-event is surely a perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to make a killing.

Sales vs Scams.

Studies show that most consumers will participate in Cyber Monday sales from their cellphones or computers at work. However, the increase in mobile online shopping also creates an opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit. Latest reports reveal a huge increase in fake shopping apps and banking trojans. With the Holidays in for their biggest shopping season yet, consumers are potentially subject to an even wider variety of mobile cyberthreats than usual.

One of the most predominant exploitations? Rushed purchases. With the increased amount of people clamoring for deals every year, consumers rush to get their desired items before they sell out, which in some cases can take only seconds. They may forego basic cybersecurity practices, or even common sense, to speed up the process so they can get their hands on the hottest items. This includes not checking the authenticity of their chosen online retailer, falling for fake deals, and mistakenly giving up more personal information than they need to make a purchase. The power of consumerism remains unchecked and is an invaluable tool this time of year for cybercriminals.

How to Stay Secure This Holiday Season

So, how can you help protect your personal data this shopping season? Before pulling out your credit card this Holiday season, check out these cybersecurity tips to ensure your holiday season goes on without a hiccup!

  • Find for the lock icon! Websites that are secured will start with “https,” rather than just “http.” Double-check to make sure that you see the padlock icon next to the web address in your web browser. If you’re not on a secured website, and cannot switch to a secured version, we would advise against making purchases there at all.
  • Do your shopping on your desktop/laptop. It’s certainly nice to be able to shop on a smartphone so you can make purchases on the go, but this can open you up to being tricked by fake shopping apps as well as mobile malware.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious websites. Easy-to-miss grammatical errors and typos are often a sign that it’s a fake version of a legitimate shopping website. If the site’s content also looks a bit fishy, it’s safe to say you should back out of it.
  • If it’s too good to be true… Beware of those “way too good” Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with phony “free” offers. If you find an ad online that seems too good to be true, you know what they say, right?