How to protect your holiday shopping amidst rising scams and cyber threats

The twinkling lights, the festive cheer, and the joy of gift-giving—yet amidst this holiday season’s delight, there lurks a shadow: cyber threats and scams. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), over $53 million could be lost by online shoppers this holiday season alone. From sophisticated email schemes promising incredible deals to counterfeit products and breached passwords, cybercriminals are poised to exploit the holiday rush.

We’ve consulted cybersecurity experts, each shedding light on a unique facet of this issue and offering crucial insights to safeguard your holiday shopping escapades.

Recognizing the Red Flags

Andy Renshaw, SVP of product management at Feedzai, highlights the prevalence of purchase scams, emphasizing the need for caution, especially during Black Friday deals. His advice echoes the importance of vigilance against socially engineered emails and emphasizes the significance of validating retailers through online reviews.

Jamie Boote, a software security consultant, points out the vulnerabilities introduced by supply chain disruptions. With parts becoming scarce and counterfeit products infiltrating the market, consumers are faced with an increased risk of receiving compromised goods. Boote underscores the necessity for consumers to conduct thorough tests and validations, particularly during this chaotic season.

Mobile Shopping: A Vulnerable Frontier

Hank Schless, Senior Manager at Lookout, sheds light on the vulnerability of mobile devices. In an era where shopping via smartphones and tablets has surged, threat actors capitalize on phishing campaigns via SMS and social media. Schless advises against tapping links from unknown sources and emphasizes the importance of using mobile security apps that offer phishing protection.

Protecting E-commerce Infrastructure

George Papamargaritis, MSS director at Obrela Security Industries, emphasizes the vulnerability of online retailers to DDoS attacks during peak sales periods. His suggestion to invest in security monitoring and threat detection mechanisms aligns with the need for proactive measures to safeguard against cyber threats.

Password Security: A Crucial Element

Steven Hope, CEO and co-founder of Authlogics, brings attention to breached or reused passwords within organizations and among customers. He highlights the alarming number of breached credentials within retail databases and underscores the risks these pose in terms of phishing, ransomware attacks, and identity theft.

The Road to Secure Shopping

In an age where the digital realm intertwines seamlessly with our holiday shopping sprees, vigilance and proactive measures are imperative. Validating retailers through reviews, utilizing mobile security apps, conducting thorough checks on purchased products, and prioritizing secure password practices are crucial steps to safeguard your holiday purchases.

This holiday season, amidst the jingles and celebrations, let’s ensure our online shopping experiences remain merry and bright by fortifying ourselves against the looming threats of cyber scams and ensuring our digital safety.

Remember, an informed shopper is a secure shopper. Happy and safe holidays!

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