The festive holiday shopping season, which covers Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber
Monday in late November as well as Christmas in December, now accounts for a significant
share of annual sales for retailers, particularly in the U.S., Europe and APAC.
Those selling clothing, jewellery, consumer electronics, sports, hobbies and books can make
around a quarter of their sales during the holiday period. In 2017, holiday sales in the U.S.
alone are expected to be up by 3.6 to 4.0 per cent on the same time in 2016.
For brands looking to make the most of this annual spending spree, the desire to sell as much
as possible at a time of intense competition is leading to ever more aggressive marketing
campaigns – particularly online.
Promotional emails, banner ads, social media posts and more bombard consumers over the
holiday months; generating a great deal of noise. Tactics such as one-click buying are designed
to making the purchase process ever easier and faster. Further, up to three quarters of emails
received on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now opened on a mobile device. People are
becoming used to making instant decisions – and that has significant security implications. They
may miss vital signs that things are not what they seem and their data could be at risk.
All this makes this time of year an ideal hunting ground for hackers, phishers and malware
spreaders; disguising their attacks as offers too good to refuse, a concerned security message
from your bank requiring urgent attention, a special rate discount from your credit card service, and
more. All you have to do is enter your personal details, card numbers or bank account credentials.
Messages or links designed to look as if they come from well-known, trusted brands, payment
cards and banks account for many of the malicious communications detected by Kaspersky
Lab’s systems in the last few years. But with studies showing that consumers are more
interested in price and convenience than brand loyalty, there may be growing opportunities for
cybercriminals who lack the skills or resources to create these and have to take the risk that
consumers will entrust all to an unknown brand name or site.
This overview of financial phishing during the fourth quarter of the year updates the
findings of the Black Friday Threat Overview 2016. It covers the types and timing of
financially motivated cyberthreats that buyers, sellers and providers of payment
systems may face over the holiday season – and offers advice on how to stay safe