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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Online Purchases

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Online Purchases 1

As we gear up to feast with family and friends this Thanksgiving, we also get our wallets ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have practically become holidays themselves, as each year they immediately shift our attention from turkey and pumpkin pie to holiday shopping. Let’s take a look at these two holidays, and how their popularity can impact users’ online security.

The Origins of the Holiday Shopping Phenomenon

You might be surprised to find out that the term “Black Friday” was first associated with a financial crisis, not sales shopping. According to The Telegraph, the U.S. gold market crashed on Friday, September 24, 1869, leaving Wall Street bankrupt. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Black Friday was used in association with holiday shopping when large crowds of tourists and shoppers flocked to Philadelphia for a big football game. Because of all the chaos, traffic jams, and shoplifting opportunities that arose, police officers were unable to take the day off, coining it Black Friday. It wasn’t until over 50 years later that Cyber Monday came to fruition when Shop.org coined the term as a way for online retailers to participate in the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

Growth Over the Years

Since the origination of these two massive shopping holidays, both have seen incredible growth. Global interest in Black Friday has risen year-over-year, with 117% average growth across the last five years. According to Forbes, last year’s Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales alone, while Cyber Monday brought in a record $7.9 billion.

While foot traffic seemed to decrease at brick-and-mortar stores during Cyber Week 2018, more shoppers turned their attention to the internet to participate in holiday bargain hunting. Throughout this week, sales derived from desktop devices came in at 47%, while mobile purchases made up 45% of revenue and tablet purchases made up 8% of revenue.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Online Purchases 2

So, what does this mean for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping this holiday season? Adobe Analytics projects that Thanksgiving and Black Friday will bring in $12.3 billion in online sales and Cyber Monday will bring in $9.48 billion. If one thing’s for sure, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are shaping up to be the biggest ones yet for shoppers looking to snag some seasonal bargains. However, the uptick in online shopping activity provides cybercriminals with the perfect opportunity to wreak havoc on users’ holiday fun.

Holiday Bargain or Shopping Scam?

Inherently, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are pretty similar, with the main difference being where users choose to shop. While Black Friday sees a mix of online and in-store shoppers, most consumers will participate in Cyber Monday sales from their mobile phones or desktops at work. Plus, with mobile Cyber Week sales increasing year over year, it’s clear that users are gravitating towards the convenience of shopping on the go. However, the increase in mobile online shopping also creates an opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit. The latest McAfee Mobile Threat Report revealed a huge increase in device backdoors, fake apps, and banking trojans. With more and more users turning to their smartphones this holiday shopping season, they are in turn potentially subject to a wide variety of mobile cyberattacks.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Online Purchases 3

Another threat to users’ holiday shopping sprees? Rushed purchases. Thanks to a later Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday falls on December 2nd, leaving users with one less shopping week between Turkey Day and Christmas. Because of this time crunch, many users are feeling pressured to get their holiday shopping done in time and might forego some basic cybersecurity practices to speed up the online shopping process. This includes not checking online retailer authenticity, falling for fake Black Friday deals, and hastily giving up more personal information than necessary, all in the interest of jumping on a sale before it’s too late.

How to Stay Secure This Holiday Season

In the blur of the holiday shopping frenzy, how can you help protect your personal information online? Before whipping out your credit card this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, check out these cybersecurity tips to ensure your holiday shopping spree goes off without a hitch:

  • Look for the lock icon. Secure websites will start with “https,” not just “http.” Double-check that you see the padlock icon right next to the web address in your browser. If you don’t, it’s best to avoid making purchases on that website.
  • If you can help it, shop on your desktop. Although shopping on a smartphone allows you to make purchases on the go, this opens you up to threats like mobile malware and fake shopping apps. Additionally, URLs are often shortened on mobile devices, making it easier for scammers to trick you with clone websites.
  • Ask the critics. Cybercriminals will often create fake websites to try and exploit users looking to get in on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday action. If you’re unsure about a product or retailer, read lots of reviews from trusted websites to help see if it’s legitimate.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious websites. Misspellings, grammatical errors, and poor website design are often a sign that it’s a rip off of a legitimate site. If the site looks a little rough around the edges, this is probably a sign that it was created by a cybercriminal.
  • Don’t be too optimistic. Beware of bogus Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with fake “free” offers. If you spot an ad online that seems too good to be true, chances are it probably is.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. Using a solution like McAfee Total Protection can help your holiday shopping spree go smoothly by providing safe web browsing, virus protection, and more. Click here for 50% off so you can shop knowing your devices and data are secured.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Online Purchases 4

Looking for more security tips and trends? Be sure to follow @McAfee Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Online Purchases appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Purchases

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Purchases 5

As we gear up to feast with family and friends this Thanksgiving, we also get our wallets ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have practically become holidays themselves, as each year they immediately shift our attention from turkey and pumpkin pie to holiday shopping. Let’s take a look at these two holidays, and how their popularity can impact users’ online security.

The Origins of the Holiday Shopping Phenomenon

You might be surprised to find out that the term “Black Friday” was first associated with a financial crisis, not sales shopping. According to The Telegraph, the U.S. gold market crashed on Friday, September 24, 1869, leaving Wall Street bankrupt. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Black Friday was used in association with holiday shopping when large crowds of tourists and shoppers flocked to Philadelphia for a big football game. Because of all the chaos, traffic jams, and shoplifting opportunities that arose, police officers were unable to take the day off, coining it Black Friday. It wasn’t until over 50 years later that Cyber Monday came to fruition when Shop.org coined the term as a way for online retailers to participate in the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

Growth Over the Years

Since the origination of these two massive shopping holidays, both have seen incredible growth. Global interest in Black Friday has risen year-over-year, with 117% average growth across the last five years. According to Forbes, last year’s Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales alone, while Cyber Monday brought in a record $7.9 billion.

While foot traffic seemed to decrease at brick-and-mortar stores during Cyber Week 2018, more shoppers turned their attention to the internet to participate in holiday bargain hunting. Throughout this week, sales derived from desktop devices came in at 47%, while mobile purchases made up 45% of revenue and tablet purchases made up 8% of revenue.

 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Purchases 6

So, what does this mean for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping this holiday season? Adobe Analytics projects that Thanksgiving and Black Friday will bring in $12.3 billion in online sales and Cyber Monday will bring in $9.48 billion. If one thing’s for sure, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are shaping up to be the biggest ones yet for shoppers looking to snag some seasonal bargains. However, the uptick in online shopping activity provides cybercriminals with the perfect opportunity to wreak havoc on users’ holiday fun.

Holiday Bargain or Shopping Scam?

Inherently, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are pretty similar, with the main difference being where users choose to shop. While Black Friday sees a mix of online and in-store shoppers, most consumers will participate in Cyber Monday sales from their mobile phones or desktops at work. Plus, with mobile Cyber Week sales increasing year over year, it’s clear that users are gravitating towards the convenience of shopping on the go. However, the increase in mobile online shopping also creates an opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit. The latest McAfee Mobile Threat Report revealed a huge increase in device backdoors, fake apps, and banking trojans. With more and more users turning to their smartphones this holiday shopping season, they are in turn potentially subject to a wide variety of mobile cyberattacks.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Purchases 7

Another threat to users’ holiday shopping sprees? Rushed purchases. Thanks to a later Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday falls on December 2nd, leaving users with one less shopping week between Turkey Day and Christmas. Because of this time crunch, many users are feeling pressured to get their holiday shopping done in time and might forego some basic cybersecurity practices to speed up the online shopping process. This includes not checking online retailer authenticity, falling for fake Black Friday deals, and hastily giving up more personal information than necessary, all in the interest of jumping on a sale before it’s too late.

How to Stay Secure This Holiday Season

In the blur of the holiday shopping frenzy, how can you help protect your personal information online? Before whipping out your credit card this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, check out these cybersecurity tips to ensure your holiday shopping spree goes off without a hitch:

  • Look for the lock icon. Secure websites will start with “https,” not just “http.” Double-check that you see the padlock icon right next to the web address in your browser. If you don’t, it’s best to avoid making purchases on that website.
  • If you can help it, shop on your desktop. Although shopping on a smartphone allows you to make purchases on the go, this opens you up to threats like mobile malware and fake shopping apps. Additionally, URLs are often shortened on mobile devices, making it easier for scammers to trick you with clone websites.
  • Ask the critics. Cybercriminals will often create fake websites to try and exploit users looking to get in on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday action. If you’re unsure about a product or retailer, read lots of reviews from trusted websites to help see if it’s legitimate.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious websites. Misspellings and grammatical errors are often a sign that it’s a rip off of a legitimate site. If the site’s content looks a little rough around the edges, this is probably a sign that it was created by a cybercriminal.
  • Don’t be too optimistic. Beware of bogus Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with fake “free” offers. If you spot an ad online that seems too good to be true, chances are it probably is.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. Using a solution like McAfee LiveSafe can help your holiday shopping spree go smoothly by providing safe web browsing, virus protection, and more. Check out our own special Cyber Week Offer here.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Purchases 8

Looking for more security tips and trends? Be sure to follow @McAfee Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Purchases appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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Cybercrime’s Most Wanted: Four Mobile Threats that Might Surprise You

Cybercrime’s Most Wanted: Four Mobile Threats that Might Surprise You 9

It’s hard to imagine a world without cellphones. Whether it be a smartphone or a flip phone, these devices have truly shaped the late 20th century and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But while users have become accustomed to having almost everything they could ever want at fingertips length, cybercriminals were busy setting up shop. To trick unsuspecting users, cybercriminals have set up crafty mobile threats – some that users may not even be fully aware of. These sneaky cyberthreats include SMSishing, fake networks, malicious apps, and grayware, which have all grown in sophistication over time. This means users need to be equipped with the know-how to navigate the choppy waters that come with these smartphone-related cyberthreats. Let’s get started.

Watch out for SMSishing Hooks

If you use email, then you are probably familiar with what phishing is. And while phishing is commonly executed through email and malicious links, there is a form of phishing that specifically targets mobile devices called SMSishing. This growing threat allows cybercriminals to utilize messaging apps to send unsuspecting users a SMSishing message. These messages serve one purpose – to obtain personal information, such as logins and financial information. With that information, cybercriminals could impersonate the user to access banking records or steal their identity.

While this threat was once a rarity, it’s rise in popularity is two-fold. The first aspect being that users have been educated to distrust email messages and the second being the rise in mobile phone usage throughout the world. Although this threat shows no sign of slowing down, there are ways to avoid a cybercriminal’s SMSishing hooks. Get started with these tips:

  1. Always double-check the message’s source. If you receive a text from your bank or credit card company, call the organization directly to ensure the message is legit.
  2. Delete potential SMSishing Do not reply to or click on any links within a suspected malicious text, as that could lead to more SMSishing attempts bombarding your phone.
  3. Invest in comprehensive mobile security. Adding an extra level of security can not only help protect your device but can also notify you when a threat arises.

Public Wi-Fi Woes  

Public and free Wi-Fi is practically everywhere nowadays, with some destinations even having city-wide Wi-Fi set up. But that Wi-Fi users are connecting their mobile device to may not be the most secure, given cybercriminals can exploit weaknesses in these networks to intercept messages, login credentials, or other personal information. Beyond exploiting weaknesses, some cybercriminals take it a step further and create fake networks with generic names that trick unsuspecting users into connecting their devices. These networks are called “evil-twin” networks. For help in spotting these imposters, there are few tricks the savvy user can deploy to prevent an evil twin network from wreaking havoc on their mobile device:

  1. Look for password-protected networks. As strange as it sounds, if you purposely enter the incorrect password but are still allowed access, the network is most likely a fraud.
  2. Pay attention to page load times. If the network you are using is very slow, it is more likely a cybercriminal is using an unreliable mobile hotspot to connect your mobile device to the web.
  3. Use a virtual private network or VPN. While you’re on-the-go and using public Wi-Fi, add an extra layer of security in the event you accidentally connect to a malicious network. VPNs can encrypt your online activity and keep it away from prying eyes. 

Malicious Apps: Fake It till They Make It

Fake apps have become a rampant problem for Android and iPhone users alike. This is mainly in part due to malicious apps hiding in plain sight on legitimate sources, such as the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. After users download a faulty app, cybercriminals deploy malware that operates in the background of mobile devices which makes it difficult for users to realize anything is wrong. And while users think they’ve just downloaded another run-of-the-mill app, the malware is hard at work obtaining personal data.

In order to keep sensitive information out of the hands of cybercriminals, here are a few things users can look for when they need to determine whether an app is fact or fiction:

  1. Check for typos and poor grammar. Always check the app developer name, product title, and description for typos and grammatical errors. Often, malicious developers will spoof real developer IDs, even just by a single letter or number, to seem legitimate.
  2. Examine the download statistics. If you’re attempting to download a popular app, but it has a surprisingly low number of downloads, that is a good indicator that an app is most likely fake.
  3. Read the reviews. With malicious apps, user reviews are your friend. By reading a few, you can receive vital information that can help you determine whether the app is fake or not.

The Sly Operation of Grayware

With so many types of malware out in the world, it’s hard to keep track of them all. But there is one in particular that mobile device users need to be keenly aware of called grayware. As a coverall term for software or code that sits between normal and malicious, grayware comes in many forms, such as adware, spyware or madware. While adware and spyware can sometimes operate simultaneously on infected computers, madware — or adware on mobile devices — infiltrates smartphones by hiding within rogue apps. Once a mobile device is infected with madware from a malicious app, ads can infiltrate almost every aspect on a user’s phone. Madware isn’t just annoying; it also is a security and privacy risk, as some threats will try to obtain users’ data. To avoid the annoyance, as well as the cybersecurity risks of grayware, users can prepare their devices with these cautionary steps:

  1. Be sure to update your device. Grayware looks for vulnerabilities that can be exploited, so be sure to always keep your device’s software up-to-date.
  2. Beware of rogue apps. As mentioned in the previous section, fake apps are now a part of owning a smartphone. Use the tips in the above section to ensure you keep malicious apps off of your device that may contain grayware.
  3. Consider a comprehensive mobile security system. By adding an extra level of security, you can help protect your devices from threats, both old and new.

Can’t get enough mobile security tips and trends? Follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

The post Cybercrime’s Most Wanted: Four Mobile Threats that Might Surprise You appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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