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Cyber criminals always pay close attention to trending topics and can create phishing websites specific to individual interests, experts warn
Retailers and customers should remain vigilant when shopping online during peak holiday periods and festivals such as the ongoing Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS 2021), security experts warned.
Busy holiday seasons characterized by a high volume of deals and sales are an active reason for cybercriminals, experts explain. The tactics most commonly used by cybercriminals during this period include impersonating popular brands to deceive buyers.
“With the UAE in the middle of the annual shopping season – the Dubai Summer Surprises – online retailers and their customers need to stay alert to cyber-attacks,” said Werno Gevers, cybersecurity specialist at Mimecast.
Based on Mimecast’s threat monitoring, the number of global brand impersonation emails addressed to Mimecast customers increased 44 percent in 2020 to an average of nearly 27 million emails per month. Since this only affects Mimecast customers, the real scope of the problem is likely much greater, Gevers stressed.
“The more popular the brand, the more likely it is to be co-opted into cybercriminals’ nefarious schemes,” he explains. “Companies on the Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2020 Index experienced a massive 381 percent increase in brand impersonation attacks in the two months of May and June 2020, compared to January-February, compared to January-February, before the pandemic struck. Over the same period, the number of new domains suspected of brand impersonation increased by 366 percent.”
The result? Customers are increasingly being fooled, with monthly clicks on dangerous links by unsuspecting shoppers increasing by 84.5 percent over the year.
Emad Haffar, Head of Technical Experts, META Region, Kaspersky, explained that the world has recently witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases, which has made people more reluctant to hit brick-and-mortar retailers for their shopping needs. However, with a busy shopping period and attractive offers promoted by DSS, customers are enticed to shop.
“It’s no surprise that fraudsters armed with their malicious cyber tactics are watching to take advantage,” Haffar said. “The ways to outsmart them are quite simple, buyers should take simple precautions to protect themselves such as not clicking on links in emails, using different passwords for different sites, carefully checking email and website address , don’t give away any personal information, especially when it seems unnecessary, and of course protect their devices with a good security solution that can detect and block the vast majority of such scams.
Cyber criminals always pay close attention to trending topics and can create phishing websites specific to individual areas of interest, he added. “Cybercriminals can lure individuals into a false sense of security by making them believe they have packed a lot. To avoid this, Kaspersky advises customers to be vigilant and not expose themselves to attacks by accessing unsecured public Wi-Fi, logging into a fake website, or clicking a link in an email promising exclusive deals. .”
Phishing attacks are becoming one of the most successful online attacks, and in March of this year, Kaspersky discovered cybercriminals targeting online shoppers looking for deals on Mother’s Day gifts. A common phishing method asks users to choose between a selection of anonymous gift boxes and a chance to win a prize, such as a gift card, by simply participating in a short survey. Since users are most likely looking for a gift online anyway, trying to win a gift card seems like a harmless distraction, and that’s when the cyber criminals strike.
Srinivasa Raghavan, product manager at Site24x7 – ManageEngine, noted that with Dubai Summer Surprises on the way, most ecommerce servers are running a lot of background tasks and handling a sea of traffic. In situations like this, security failures will occur from time to time.
“While security breaches can be understandable from a security professional’s perspective, consumers rarely feel so empathetic when they discover that their private information has been released,” he said. “To fix this problem, you need to monitor your servers to keep track of what’s changing, what’s being opened, and when. It is also important to check the logs generated by servers, applications, and security devices. With the huge amount of traffic that awaits your servers, keeping a close eye on these logs helps keep your infrastructure as secure as possible.”
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