Cyber criminals are set to begin their holiday celebrations with their annual Black Friday explosion of spam.
In 2018, spam spiked 8% during the week of Black Friday, 45% during Cyber Monday, and 21% as the New Year approached, F-Secure researchers found. These trends are likely to continue until New Year’s 2020 as tricky mass emails continue to be one of the most effective methods for spreading malware and scams.
The only people more eager for shopping season than online crooks may be holiday shoppers. That’s why F-Secure is offering a Black Friday deal on our premium cyber security package TOTAL.
Avoiding lines but still in a rush
A recent survey found that 17% of UK consumers would consider missing work on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and 32% stated they’d already begun to fill up their online shopping carts.
Eagerness for a bargain makes cyber criminals’ jobs easier — especially when it’s paired with a lack of basic cyber security.
A total of three in four (75%) shoppers say that they haven’t installed security software installed to protect their devices from spam, and nearly one in five (19%) intend to shop on their commute or during their lunch break using free public Wi-Fi (17%).
How spam gets into your head
An inbox overflowing with discounts and deals can lead to bad clicks, especially when you’re shopping on the go, explains Tom Gaffney, Security Consultant at F-Secure.
“When using a mobile phone, people are more likely to be in a System 1 mode of thinking where their guard is down and they make fast, unconscious, automatic decisions,” he said.
Clicking on a link in an unsolicited mail can easily lead to a malware infection or a phishing scam. But the survey found that it’s an extremely common practice.
Over two thirds (69%) admitted they click on the links in emails rather than going directly to the retailer’s website.
Cyber criminals know that you’re anxiously awaiting gifts to be shipped to your home. “Failed delivery” spam plays on that anxiety, spurring a user to click on a link that leads to trouble by claiming a package has been missed.
Avoiding these sorts of manipulative tactics requires a mix of smart technology and savvy habits.
Secure more than your devices
Smart cyber security has to go beyond your device to securing all the accounts you use online. Yet too few UK shoppers are practicing smart password security.
Only three in ten (30%) have made sure all their accounts have strong, unique passwords, while just under one in eight (12%) use a password manager—the tool that makes creating and storing strong, unique passwords easy.
Given all the risks and lack of precautions it’s no wonder that a recent F-Secure survey found that most Brits (51%) say that they or someone in their family has been affected by cyber-crime.
More than half of (51%) UK consumers said their family had been personally affected by cyber crime. That compares to 45% in the rest of Europe.
Credit card fraud is the most common form of cyber crime in the UK, affecting just over one in four (26%) families while only affecting about one in ten (12%) across the rest of the continent. Malware and viruses are a close second, with 23% reporting an issue with malicious software, just slightly under the 25% who’ve dealt with these scourges throughout Europe.
Don’t give crooks anything to celebrate
Cyber security is no longer about just staying safe on your devices. You also need to make sure all of your accounts are protected so you’ll stay secure in the case of a breach.
Beyond running security software with browsing protection and a VPN that secures Wi-Fi connections like F-Secure TOTAL, shoppers should practice these cyber safety basics to make sure you aren’t giving cyber criminals anything extra to celebrate this holiday season.