Cyber Monday is the perfect start to the holiday season. Despite its hectic nature, it’s a great time for people to get the best, most affordable deals online just in time for Christmas. If chaotic stores are not for you, Cyber Monday is the way to shop, however it’s important you do this safely.
Many scams often happen online with valuable parcels never arriving at their destination or great holidays never being provided. In 2017 by 4:30 pm in the US, Cyber Monday sales were more than $3.38 billion online, up 17% on the previous year.
Figures have shown more than £500m was stolen from customers of British banks in first half of 2018 due to scammers and cybercrime.
Businesses’ are also huge victims of cyber-attacks; 72% of large businesses have reported some form of breach or attack in the past 12 months, showing just how easy it is for a business to make a security mistake.
Update your software and reduce your risk
It’s increasingly important to make sure that all malware and security software on your desktop, mobile and tablet devices are up-to-date. Any computer or mobile phone that isn’t protected by antivirus software is more likely to be compromised by malware, meaning you could be at much greater risk of being scammed.
You will come across ads that are ‘too good to be true’ which usually contain some form of malicious link.
Security software like antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, and a firewall will protect you and your business from these links.
As with any risk, as a company you should evaluate the severity and potential exposure to cybercrime. Just by simply updating your company’s software you may be saving yourselves from suffering a sustainable financial loss.
Credit card safety
Unlike a credit card, a debit card will offer you far less protection against fraud, so it may be wise to stick to credit cards when shopping online.
To be sure you’re not involved in any attack it’s a good idea to keep a frequent check on your bank statements and transactions and immediately report any discrepancies or changes in activity.
When it comes to buying an item online, you will most likely have to enter your card details (unless there’s another payment method option).
So, when you are doing this it’s very important to check the website is secure, by looking for the closed padlock on the web browser left hand corner.
Never disclose security details such as your PIN or full banking password, these are not needed to make a purchase; therefore any websites requesting them are probably a scam.
If you do use your card details on a website make sure you don’t save your personal information to the site, there’s no need for the website to hold this data so there’s no need for you to save it.
A recent cyber security study found that a massive 87% of people have at some time left their personal data exposed when accessing their emails, bank accounts, or other financial information.
Be cautious and notice when something’s wrong
There are a number of ways to avoid being involved in cybercrime; you just have to take the right precautions.
When buying items, stick to networks that are familiar and put password protection in place. Software from locations other than the device’s official stores has a greater chance of being malicious, so stay clear of these.
There are a number of things to look for when identifying a ‘dodgy’ website:
- The site looks poorly designed, unprofessional and contains broken links.
- If the website tries to rush your purchase
- Credit card information is required at any time other than when you are making a purchase.
- The back button does not work, and you can’t return to a different page.
- Return policies or privacy policies are not perfectly visible or not present at all.
- There is no address or phone number for the company.
- There isn’t a closed padlock on the left hand corner of the web browser.
Alongside all of these it’s important to trust your own instinct. If you feel a website is not safe, it probably isn’t and it’s usually a good idea to stay away from it.
Do your research
Black Friday became one of the biggest days in the retail calendar in 2012. So much so that last year, Amazon reported a new sale every 62 seconds – and that’s just one retailer.
Cyber Monday now offers some even bigger discounts than Black Friday hence why it’s becoming so popular. However a lot of the discounts seem to be fake and consequently can be especially dangerous if you’re handing over your payment details.
It’s important to do your research and make sure the deals you find are safe ones. By searching a company’s name you are likely to find reviews and information that analyse the security of a website.
Try to avoid using companies you’ve not heard of before and stick to the ones you know best. If it’s absolutely necessary that you order from somewhere new, perhaps ask around if other people have used it or research the company.
Try to stay away from Social Media on Cyber Monday
You may think social media is the safest way to find the best deals…. you’re wrong!
It only takes a matter of seconds to create a fake profile. A hacker can set you up perfectly by placing a ‘discount’ link and launching the perfect malware attack.
Last year ‘Cyber Monday’ was tweeted about over 5.5 million times, meaning it wouldn’t be hard to end up on the wrong website. Phishing links go up by as much as 336% around Cyber Monday and more than 30 million malicious links are sent on social media sites each day. This has become widely known as‘Cybercrime Monday’ in social circles.
If you are a business it’s important to monitor your social media for malware or phishing posted with your hashtags, images or messaging. You should also protect your customers by communicating with them about your official sources for deals and discounts.
By doing this you are potentially preventing a number of people from being scammed out of hundreds (possibly thousands) of pounds.
Despite the many risks, the vast majority of deals are genuine and come from reliable sources, but still remain vigilant. Don’t let these risks put you off online Christmas shopping.
Cybercrime is happening all year round, not just on Cyber Monday and Black Friday, if you look back at data from the past 7 days you are more than likely to find evidence of a cyber-attack.
As with all areas of business we can take precautions and measures to prevent something happening but you can never be too careful. For businesses in particular, it may be a good idea to have Cyber insurance as it will help to keep the business running in the event of an attack.
Caunce O’Hara is aware of the risks of cybercrime. We can provide you with the cover for yourself your business and your clients.
If you are interested and would like a competitive cyber insurance quote please call our friendly team on: 0333 321 1403