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November 22, 2023

Security Issues Around Black Friday and How to Avoid Them

By Bobbi Seymour

Black Friday has become one of the biggest retail events of the year, with enticing online deals leading to a surge in digital shopping activity.  

However, this spike also attracts cyber criminals seeking to scam shoppers through tactics like phishing sites, malware attacks, and payment fraud. 

In this blog, we cut through the noise around Black Friday promotions to focus on the latest cyber risks shoppers might face, along with concrete tips to protect your information and money. 

By being aware of today’s shopping scams and learning best practices for safe online buying, you can score discounts without compromising critical personal data. 

Cybersecurity Risks on Black Friday 

Phishing Attacks 

Watch out for fake emails this Black Friday, offering up too-good-to-be-true deals to lure you in. These phishing attempts often mimic large retailers down to using their branding and logos and are attempting to steal your personal information.  

However, subtle signs like slightly altered email addresses and misspelt words can give them away. Ensure the sender address matches the real retailer before opening. Scrutinise unbelievable offers by comparing them directly with the company’s promotions. You can also inspect links by hovering over them first to confirm destinations. 


Malicious Advertisements 

In addition to all the legitimate Black Friday promotions, also be on the lookout for online ads popping up unexpectedly and offering unbelievable discounts out of nowhere. 

As you browse top shopping sites during the sales, flashy pop-ups and banners will flood your feeds hoping you’ll click without thinking first. Behind some of these lies malicious links and downloads ready to install malware to your device and steal your personal data.  

Stop yourself from falling victim to malware attacks by cross-checking improbable deals against real retailer promotions first. Vet links by comparing URLs before engaging. Remember: Never download anything an ad urges you to, no matter how good the deal looks. 


Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks 

Be cautious when deal hunting over public Wi-Fi this Black Friday weekend - it can leave your data vulnerable. Unsecured public networks allow hackers to view everything you transmit online. This means they can access sensitive info like your financial details, login credentials, contacts and more as you shop.  

It’s best to avoid signing into accounts or entering payment info on public Wi-Fi. If you must use it, turn on a VPN to encrypt your web traffic and prevent prying eyes from stealing your data. 


Payment Fraud 

With the boom in online holiday shopping comes a surge in payment fraud. Cyber scammers utilise stolen credit card info from the dark web to create fake e-commerce sites, posing as legitimate retailers. This allows them to process fraudulent purchases under unsuspecting shoppers' names. 

Stay sharp this season. Before entering payment details, double-check site URLs to ensure legitimacy. Beware that falling victim not only compromises personal info but can also lead to hackers accessing bank accounts, resulting in the theft of hard-earned funds. Stay vigilant and regularly monitor your statements for any unauthorised charges. Protect your assets from cyber threats during this holiday rush. 


Tips to Enhance Cybersecurity on Black Friday 

It can be difficult to know how to keep your Black Friday shopping cyber-safe! But with our expert tips and tricks, you can ensure you are doing all you can to keep up your defences. 


  • Keep Software and Antivirus Updated 

Maintaining the security of your digital environment is foundational to a safe online experience. Regularly update your operating systems, browsers, and antivirus software. These updates often contain critical security patches, acting as a shield against emerging cyber threats.  

You can simplify this process by enabling automatic updates, ensuring your defences remain robust without requiring constant manual intervention. 


  • Use Strong and Unique Passwords 

A strong password is your initial line of defence against cyber threats. Create passwords that blend uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Strive for uniqueness by avoiding easily guessable information.  

Managing multiple passwords can be daunting, which is where password managers shine. These tools not only generate and store complex passwords but also streamline access management for your various accounts. 


  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) 

Elevate your security posture by implementing Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). This additional layer of protection goes beyond passwords and typically involves a verification code sent to your mobile device.  

The setup process is straightforward, and the enhanced security it provides is well worth the effort. For a deeper understanding of Multi-Factor Authentication and why you need it, read our detailed blog: What is MFA?


  • Shop from Secure Websites 

Initiate your online shopping journey on a secure footing by confirming the presence of "https://" in the website URL. The "s" signifies a secure, encrypted connection between your browser and the site.  

Additionally, seek trust indicators such as padlock icons to validate the site's legitimacy. Stick to well-known and reputable retailers to sidestep potential pitfalls associated with unfamiliar platforms and seemingly too-good-to-be-true deals. 


  • Monitor Your Financial Statements 

Proactively safeguard your financial information by regularly reviewing your bank and credit card statements. Detect and address any unauthorised transactions promptly. Consider implementing transaction alerts for an added layer of security, ensuring immediate notifications of any unusual account activity. 


As the excitement of Black Friday draws near, empower your online shopping experience with our tried-and-true cybersecurity tips. Strengthen your defences against cyber threats, making this year's shopping spree not only rewarding but secure.  

Should you find yourself facing cybersecurity challenges, our team of experts at SpiderGroup is here to guide you. Reach out to us, and let's navigate the world of cybersecurity together. 

This Black Friday, shop smart, shop secure, and trust SpiderGroup for all your cybersecurity needs. Stay protected, stay informed. Contact us today. 

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