Last year I wrote about the same topic with a view to making people aware of the popular threats to be aware of AND staying protected during the holiday season. This year though there’s not much variation in the trending threats compared to last year, rather a couple of threats have got added to the list. Reading through the information should help you stay alert and protect yourself from the threats that wait in the Cyber Space.
We all are aware of the day-by-day shrinking size of computing devices and the rise of mobile computing gadgets. Not to mention, the rapidly evolving services based on the cloud has eased the process of data accessibility via. varied devices. Hence offering a larger playground for the cyber criminals to lay their traps. This year and thereafter consumers would need to be extra careful with the applications you download onto your mobile devices. According to security experts, there has been a rapid rise in the malicious apps that are designed to steal your financial details.
Since festive seasons starting from the Thanksgiving day and Black Friday until the end of the New Year the volume of transactions via. online shopping is at its high, there has been a rise in banking malware targeted towards stealing your personal as well as financial details.
According to a report by Trend micro, the company predicts that in the year 2014 there would be an increase in threats posed by Mobiles, clickjacking and watering hole attacks. This is quite understandable as wherever there’s money, online criminals and fraudsters would follow. AND they are well equipped and aware of the top seasons in a year for biggest shopping seasons. The human element that attracts the eyes which they usually target is ‘Discounts’.
So it’s rather to be well aware of what might come your way with a little educated stance by keeping yourself aware and avoid the pitfalls. Below is a list of some of the most popular pitfalls to avoid this festive season OR let’s say the discount season:
Promotional Emails hiding phishing scripts
Criminals from the cyber space know exactly what you are look and what kind of emails would seem more attractive to the eyes of the general audience. Promotional emails have been an old medium being used by fraudsters to carry out their activities. This may needn’t always be some promotional email from some company but based on recent observations, netizens have also been reported to have received emails about fake in-transit items.
In this process they make use of the names of the popular delivery services such as FedEx, DHL and similar others, in the emails making it seem more relevant hence increasing the changes of people clicking on the malicious links.
While a few others would fake themselves as travel portals which seem to be genuine sites/services which may seem to offer highly irresistible deals on holiday season travel packages. AVOID clicking on links or downloading any files titled as some travel kit or anything else. Of course, unless you are 101% sure about what you are clicking on, just DON’T Click, this should keep you safe.
eCommerce Portals and Shopping Carts
Some smart criminals have even been observed to have taken efforts to building professional looking shopping sites that are near replica of some highly popular websites. Such portals may range from banking sites to online shopping portals. For an unwary individual it may seem that s/he is using a genuine site and this is all what’s expected from you by the fraudsters. You may not just end-up losing your personal information but your financial information too.
So, to avoid falling prey to such sites, it’s important that you check the domain name thoroughly. No two websites can have the same domain name and extension. For example, this site dzone.com, you wouldn’t find another site with this domain name anywhere over the web. If a fraudster wishes to target the users of this site, s/he may register a domain (for example) dz0ne.com. Here one thing that you must notice is that it isn’t ‘o’ in the domain but ‘0’ zero. But in the first instance it may seem to be a genuine domain. So just be careful what you access over the web.
These are the two most common practices that most fraudsters use during festive seasons. If you are serious about protecting yourself this season too, just double check for whatever you do over the web this season. Staying cautious should be enough to protect yourself from falling prey to the activities run by the criminals.
Barb Jones is a Business Development and Client Relationship Manager at WHUK, a web hosting provider in the UK since 2001. She's often seen sharing her knowledge and insight about various technology trends in the hosting industry, Google and solutions to issues that are commonly faced by consumers in the Industry. Her articles can be found at the companies official blog here. You may also connect with her over Google+, Twitter and Facebook.