Financial phishing increases during holiday shopping season

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AS more people shop online during the lead-up to the Christmas holidays, the number of financial phishing attacks is also expected to rise said Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity company, in a release. Its research shows that over the last few years, “the holiday period was marked by an increase in phishing and other types of attacks, which suggests that the pattern will be repeated this year,” the statement said.

Financial phishing increases during holiday shopping season

According to Kaspersky Lab threat statistics, it detected a 9 percentage points increase in the proportion of phishing pages that hunt financial data (credit cards details) in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 2015 when compared to the average for those years.

“In particular, the result for financial phishing in all of 2014 was 28.73%, while the result for Q4 was 38.49%. In 2015, 34.33% of all phishing attacks was financial phishing, while in Q4, that type of phishing was responsible for 43.38% of all attacks.”

According to Kaspersky Lab, both in 2014 and 2015 its researchers witnessed a significant increase in phishing attacks against payment systems and online stores. Attacks against banks also grew, but at a lower rate.

According to Kaspersky Lab, in order to steal data criminals “may create a fake payment page of a famous payment system, or they copy legitimate online retailer sites or even create 100% fake shops with incredibly attractive offerings.”

Just last October, “Kaspersky Lab researchers spotted a Black-Friday themed phony internet shop offering products at attractive prices. Which means that weeks before the actual start of the holiday sales, the criminals are already preparing.”

(Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States — the fourth Thursday of November — and is considered the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in that country, with many retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online, offering major sales.)

In order to avoid becoming a victim of holiday phishing scams, Kaspersky Lab experts advise the following measures:

• Do not click on any links received from unknown people or on suspicious links sent by your friends on social networking sites or via e-mail. They can be malicious; created to download malware to your device or to lead to phishing webpages aimed at harvesting user credentials.

• Do not enter your credit card details on unfamiliar or suspicious sites, to avoid passing them into cybercriminals’ hands. If these websites are offering advantageous deals that look too good to be true, they most likely belong to criminals.

• Always double-check the webpage is genuine before entering any of your credentials or confidential information (at least take a look at the URL). Fake websites may look just like the real ones.

• Install a security solution on your device, with built-in technologies designed to prevent financial fraud. For example, Safe Money technology in Kaspersky Lab’s solutions creates a secure environment for financial transactions on all levels.