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With Black Friday, holiday phishing scams abound – don’t get hooked!

Posted by Geraldine Hunt on Wed, Nov 25th, 2015

The weekend from Black Friday' through to  ‘Cyber Monday' are the busiest four days of the year for online shopping . Cyber Monday came into being in 2005 when it was noticed that there was a spike in online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving, it’s essentially an attempt to jumpstart the holiday shopping season. According to Visa people in the US are expected to spend $1.91 billion this Black Friday both online and in store!

Phishing scams target Black Friday, Cyber Monday shoppers

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, we can expect to see a rise  in the number of phishing emails being sent to trap unsuspecting holiday shoppers. Cyber Monday is for most a normal workday which means workers will likely be using their employers' computers and networks to take advantage of these on line bargains. As email inboxes fill with Cyber Monday special offers the risk of phishing and spam emails being treated as legitimate increases. As employees shopping from the workplace get carried away with phenomenal offers the thrill of the bargain will see many momentarily forgetting even the basic email security precautions.

Phishing emails are designed explicitly to infect computers with malware or trick prospective buyers into handing over their personally identifiable and financial information.  For employers the stakes are high. With 78% of all online shopping taking place during office hours, employers need to be sure that when employees are shopping using company PCs they are accessing safe and secure sites and not exposing the company network and organisation to threats that could have serious security and financial consequences.

Would you recognise a phishing email?

Unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult for people to differentiate between an authentic email or a phishing attempt. Cyber-criminals have the time and resources to create very sophisticated emails that set out to trick users.  An unprotected computer is like an open door for email phishing scams.  It’s vital to have good email security in place, a powerful anti-spam filter that offers powerful phishing protection is critical, as is ensuring the protection is up to date.

How can online shoppers protect themselves?

The TitanHQ team is working round the clock to ensure customers do not fall prey to  malicious email activity. SpamTitan consistently catches over 99.9% of spam. Unsolicited emails, phishing attempts, spoofing and illicit content are just some of the categories of unwanted email that SpamTitan blocks. SpamTitans anti-phishing module blocks threats posed by phishing emails ensuring the latest phishing emails are captured. SpamTitan also checks for typical phishing keywords in every email sent to your organization.

We recommend online shoppers exercise extreme caution and follow some basic security guidelines :

  • Only use trusted websites
  • Ensure HTTPS/secure connections to online retailers and Banking sites
  • Always ensure you have the latest security patches installed
  • Do not use public WiFi for shopping
  • Check the authenticity of the URL or web address
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible
  • Backup your documents and media files

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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