Online Holiday Shopping – Beware of Threat Attackers

By | January 17, 2017
The people of the U.S are eagerly waiting for their Thanksgiving holiday season to enjoy their shopping. Sellers of America have also made their arrangements for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Not only the sellers and consumers are happy about the holiday; online hackers are also anxiously waiting for this season.Holiday season will provide lots of deals and offers to the consumers in both online and in-store purchases. Nowadays people do not want to shop in crowded places or carrying lots of packages and bags. They need a convenient and easy way to shop without any difficulties. Hence, they have shifted towards online shopping for purchase all the required items.

The technical advancements in the smartphones can provide all the clear information about the product, which includes price, product description, user reviews and more. This can be highly beneficial for the users to choose their product with high confidence. Though it gives more benefits to the user, it has some detriment that cannot be identified by the user.

The number of people was accessing cart apps or websites during the holiday season; on the other hand, hackers can try to use this scenario to hack the users’ credit card numbers and passwords. So, the consumers must aware about these fake purchasing apps and websites.

Holiday season in the US

Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving Day as a secular holiday that was celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November month in the United States. Thanksgiving Day is not only celebrated by Americans; it is also celebrated by the people of Canada on the second Monday of October. In America, Days of Thanksgiving or Days of fasting was proclaimed as a day of prayer and fasting to thank the goodness, such as good harvest, recovery from sickness and more.

These days are largely expected days for retailers in the US since the sales in these days are increased the significant amount of sales. Hence, the first Monday after the Thanksgiving Day is termed as Cyber Monday. It was taken as an important marketing day after the great success of online sales in the year 2005.

Cyber Monday deals are available only through online and offers are generally provided by the small retailers who are unable to compete with the other big retailers. Cyber Monday generally offers best deals for fashion retail. In the last two Cyber Mondays, 45 percent of clothing deals are offered than on Black Friday and about 50 percent of shoe deals are provided. It becomes a worldwide marketing term used by the retailers across the world.

Another important shopping day is Black Friday, which is the next day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Black Friday is regarded as the starting of the Christmas holiday shopping season in America. Most of the sellers offered more offers and deals to the customers and it normally offers deals on technology. It provides more deals for kitchen gadgets, cutlery, small appliances and approximately 85 percent data storage deals are available.

Online shopping

Online shopping provides a platform to buy the goods from a retailer over the internet with the help of a web browser or app. A consumer can find the product by directly visiting the retailers’ website or by using the search engine. It provides all the information about the product even with the price comparison of the same product with any other e-retailers. Users can buy the product over the internet through various devices such as laptops, desktop computers, smartphones and tablets.

Users can search for a specific brand, model, and version of any product. For online shopping, customers must have an active internet connection and a valid payment mode to complete a transaction that includes debit card, credit card, or any other electronic wallets such as Android Pay, PayPal, etc.

 

Benefits of online purchasing

Online shopping have lots of advantages such as more variety, convenience, affordable prices, crowd-free and much more. The majority of the people these days prefer to shop things online than the traditional way of going into shops. Online retails provide the users to shop 24/7 with more convenience. Online shopping provides best prices and cheap deals since the product directly reaches the customer from the seller without any involvement of the middleman.

Risky factors in digital purchasing

Though shopping through the online is more convenient and efficient, the customers face certain issues while accessing the online portals. The major problems faced by the users are the establishment of many new malicious and insecure websites that impersonate as professional vendors. The fake websites use the brand name of any leading companies to attract the customers and there are about more than 1,100 malicious websites are available during the Cyber Monday or Black Friday. According to the study, it was observed that one in ten mobile apps was found unsafe to use for shopping.

During an analysis of roughly seven million websites and mobile apps relevant to the top five e-commerce retailers, it was revealed that around a million of sites are marked to the blacklist. These websites mainly focus on the bank details of the user that includes the consumers’ debit card, credit card, account number, identification number, login credentials and more.

Fake cart apps and sites

As the holiday season approaches, security organizations are in a hurry to alarm the risks faced by the users. It also explains how these malicious apps are trapping the sensitive details of the user. Additionally, it also reveals the way in which hackers used this shopping season to do the malicious activities.

Most of the malicious applications presented on the third-party application stores and even some malicious apps were hosting at the official App store such as Apple App Store and Google Play Store. According to the survey, it was observed that more than 1,950 website addresses were blacklisted that related to the most popular five online retailers and Black Friday. These fake websites were linked to any other malware, spam and phishing schemes.

Outcomes of the survey

The results of the survey show that if the user performs a search on Black Friday, then the results displayed will contain at least one malicious app out of ten mobile apps. Online attackers have focused more on the five leading brands in electronic commerce. It contains almost more than one million malicious apps, which has their branded labels in the description or title. The five most popular retail brands contain more than 1,950 blacklisted URLs that have their branded terms with “Black Friday” that leads the user to reach spam, phishing or malware sites.

Precautionary measures for online shopping

The user can protect their confidentiality by following some of the preventive measures. These steps can help the consumer to shop the products over the internet with security.

  • People must ensure that they are downloading applications from the official mobile app stores such as Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
  • The user must aware about the permissions of the applications while installing; since many malicious apps will ask permission to access the administrative features, contacts, stored passwords, text messages, or any credit card.
  • Before downloading an app, the customer must know about the apps’ developer because some of the malicious apps will contain many good reviews or downloads, which is just the act of threat actor to attract the audiences.

Online shopping offers convenience and easy shopping for the user, but people must also think about these difficulties while purchasing over the internet. If the customer differentiates the real and fake websites, then online purchasing will be the best choice for the users. Hence, people should aware about these activities and try to follow the preventive measures to have a great online shopping experience.

Author Bio: Anand Rajendran is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zuket. He is a writer and coffee lover. He has is a graduate in Computer Science and Post Graduate in Entrepreneurship and leadership from Ulyanovsk State University, Russia. He is a passionate blogger & SEO Specialist. Zuket offers software products that are built with Airbnb, Uber, Zuket Scripts and other cloning scripts.

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