Top 5 Digital Threats To Look Out For This Black Friday

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October was Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get the low-down on the digital threats to your cybersecurity over the pre-festive shopping period. With swarms of people spending time online to try a snag some incredible deals, digital criminals take the opportunity to try gain their own unsavoury steals. Here are 5 things to look out for to stay safe this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

1. Phishing

Phishing happens when you click on a link sent to you under the guise of something else. Over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a phishing attack might appear as someone sending you a link to a great deal. When you click on the link you’ll be prompted to log in, and when you do so, you hand over your details to the crooks who will misuse you login details when they feel like it.

Always, but especially over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, exercise caution with links sent to you, and if you’re urged to log in, close the link and move on.

2. Scams

Online scams flourish over the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period. You might get an SMS or message saying you have a package waiting for you, or you qualify for astounding discounts, and all you need to do is authenticate yourself with some personal or banking details. When you do that, you’re vulnerable to credit card fraud and even identity theft.

Keep your wits about you and remember that no reputable store will ask for your personal or financial information.

3. Theft

Good old fashioned device theft is another big threat that thrives on Black Friday. With huge crowds bustling about in every store, it’s just too easy for criminals to relieve you of your phone or tablet amidst all the jostling. When a thief has your phone they have access to all of your login information to all of your apps, including banking apps, and they can access all of your photos, contacts, and messages. When your phone goes missing you’re suddenly vulnerable to financial fraud, identity theft, and even extorsion. 

This Black Friday, keep your phone on your person at all times, and if it does go missing, log in to all your important accounts online and forcefully logout of all other devices. Thereafter change your login details and you should be safe.

4. ATM skimming

ATMs are generally quite busy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shoppers form queues to withdraw cash and continue with their retail spree. Crooks fix small skimming devices to ATMs that copy your card information. To stay safe, opt for using ATMs inside your bank branch, where it’s more difficult for thieves to fit their technology onto the machine unnoticed.

5. Financial malware

You can unknowingly install malicious software directly onto your device over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period. This happens very similarly to phishing, in that you’ll get an email or SMS, but instead of a link to click, there’s an attachment the criminals ask you to open. When you open that attachment, you install financial malware on your device that can then steal your banking credentials and open you up to a host of financial fraud and theft.

To avoid this, always check the address of the sender. If you get an email, check that the domain (that’s the part that comes after the @ sign) is the exact same as the verified store website. If it isn’t don’t open any links or attachments included in the email. You can also install anti-virus software on your devices and enable two-factor authentication on your accounts for added security.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be fantastic times to catch up on all your retail needs. It’s a fun, exciting period of shopping and great deals, but with all the fun comes a suite of digital threats to your cybersecurity. We hope that with the help of this article you and your loved ones can stay safe while you shop. 

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