The holiday shopping season is back with most online and brick-and-mortar stores trying to either offload inventory or level up the competition by offering the sweetest deals. However, these luring deals and discounts may lead to a mess if online shoppers are not cautious.
Remember, your computer isn’t to be blamed if you get hacked in the middle of your purchase. So, before you get started with meaty deals being offered online, here are some words of caution from the FBI and CISA.
The big news
The FBI has warned that online shoppers are at risk of losing more than $53 million this year to holiday scams that promise fake bargains and hard-to-find gifts.
In addition to monetary loss, unsuspecting users are also at risk of falling victim to identity theft and fraudulent card charges.
The agency noted that scammers are using various tactics to bait customers. Some of the prominent ways include enticing users through specially-crafted phishing emails, fake websites promoting unrealistic discounts, bogus social media posts on freebies, or gift cards.
Forged online surveys are also being used to trick victims to steal their personal information.
Another sneaky area to look at
The FBI in coordination with DHS also issued an alert about spear-phishing email campaigns impersonating branded companies.
Attackers lure their victims by confusing them with a fake logo that matches the company’s official site.
The phishing pages of targeted companies are sent through various means such as spam emails, text messages, or mobile and web apps.
These pages are either embedded with login forms or malware that ultimately harvest credentials, payment details, and other types of personal information from victims.
Lastly, ransomware does not take a break
In a joint alert, the CISA and FBI urged the public and private sector to remain vigilant and take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of ransomware attacks during this holiday season.
The advisory was issued based on the rise in impacts from recent ransomware attacks.
The agencies highlighted that malicious cyber actors have often taken advantage of holidays and weekends to disrupt critical networks and systems belonging to organizations.
Be cyber smart and don’t let cyber threats mar your shopping spree this holiday season! It is recommended that users exercise caution when opening unsolicited emails that claim to offer unrealistic discounts. Implementing multi-factor authentication and using strong passwords as additional security, among other practices, are also advised to stay safe.