With the holiday season underway, retail companies are busy trying to attract customers with sales and promotions. At the same time, another group will be busy but with more nefarious intentions, and those are cybercriminals targeting the sector. In fact, the retail industry is the most vulnerable one for cyberattacks with more incidents recorded this year than against any other sector. A report released Thursday by IntSights describes some of the threats facing retail companies and how they can better protect themselves. One of the top threats that retail companies face are cybercriminals in the form of organized retail crime (ORC), IntSights said, costing retailers around $30 billion each year.
Even if you've barely drawn breath since Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals filled your inboxes, you're not out of the shopping woods just yet. The holidays are only days away; although the days never come soon enough for those under 10, the average adult is lamenting how quickly the need for even more shopping looms ominously above. SEE: 10 ways to raise your users' cybersecurity IQ (free PDF) No matter how anxious or stressed you're feeling, the first big bit of advice is a sensible one. Do not be swayed by the great marketing ads that populate your social media pages. The ads may look good, but never click and buy without doing your due diligence.
The Thanksgiving weekend is just right around the corner. While some would still associate the upcoming holiday as time to be spent solely with family and friends, many of us are also excited by the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Last year's events already broke retail sales records. According to Adobe, 2018 Cyber Monday sales alone topped $7.9 billion. Consumers are also increasingly using their mobile devices to perform transactions.
We all know we need to be on the lookout for skimming devices that crooks install at ATM machines or at the pump at gas stations. But just in time for the holiday shopping season, we're now being warned that the hackers are watching our online shopping carts, too, in order to steal our credit card and debit card information. Such theft can happen whether you're buying something online through a legitimate website or mobile app. Big names that have been targeted include the online store for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which had a malicious payment code running between Nov. 15, 2018, and May 14, 2019. What's worse: It may be very difficult for a consumer to actually detect compromised websites that have been hit by an e-skimming scheme.
Even if you're an ascetic who eschews the materialism of holiday shopping, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday juggernaut is hard to avoid. Stores hawk their deals everywhere, promotional emails flood your inbox, tweets and even texts tell you what to buy, and where, for the best price. But before you give in to the siren's song of cheap fitness trackers, keep in mind that online scams are lurking everywhere. And the threat is greater this year than ever. Retail-related scams and schemes plague the internet all year round, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are particularly appealing for hackers given the surge in shoppers--all of whom are potential targets.