Hackers to target Black Friday and holiday online shoppers

hackers target black friday holiday online shoppers hacker

Online retail sites are about to get a massive boost from the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, which is set to officially begin on Black Friday in a couple of days. However, another sect is also getting ready to ramp up their operations as well: hackers, cybercriminals and anyone aiming to use malware to exploit consumers.

In fact, cyberthugs have reportedly started to bombard social media feeds, email accounts and search engines with poisoned links already. Click on one and boom, you might have just contracted some nasty malware. Allegedly, about 10 percent of people who receive such unclean links are likely to take the bait. Here’s what Sorin Mustaca, asecurity analyst at anti-malware firm Avira, had to say.

 “All these things have something in common: social engineering and greed.”

Meanwhile, Signifyd, an identity verification firm, found that 0.8 percent of ecommerce sales made via desktops are fraudulent, after examining 10 million transactions made in the past six months. The dangers are real and are only likely to increase.

So how can you protect yourself from malware and online scams during the holiday shopping rush? Here’s one way: tap into your own fears. No, really. That’s what Ronnie Flathers, who works for a security consultant firm by the name of Neohapsis, had to say.

“It’s OK to be a little paranoid. Modern phishing techniques are subtle and dangerous. It’s OK to mistrust e-mail and links. If something seems phishy, exit out.”

Also, be sure to use strong passwords, and only shop on well-known, trusted sites. We recommend Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg and any other retailers that have a strong brick-and-mortar presence. Crutchfield and Buydig are a couple of sites that we’ve used and had nothing but success with.

Here’s what it boils down to: despite the ever-growing reality of online threats, you can stay safe if you just don’t do anything risky, like use iffy sites or click on links that look less than legit. Make sure your firewall, malware scanners and anti-virus programs are up to date and constantly running. And of course, if you use a password like “123456”, which was found to be commonly used among those who fell victim to the recent Adobe hack, you’re just asking for trouble.


Playing ‘Battlefield V’ on an $800 Nvidia card is stunning. And disappointing

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.

Save a heap with these Black Friday 2018 graphics card deals

The Black Friday 2018 sales period is finally here and it's brought with it a tonne of great component deals. We've been scouring websites and catalogs for days to find you the best graphics cards deals for Black Friday 2018.

HP takes $100 off of leather-clad Spectre Folio 13 bundle for Black Friday

HP is offering a discount to Black Friday shoppers for a bundle that includes its leather-wrapped answer to Apple's MacBook Air. HP is offering a $100 discount on the Spectre Folio 13 when bundled with a mouse and leather sleeve.

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.

Ditch the passwords and buy Xbox games with just your face

Passwords are the past. The latest version of Windows 10 allows you to sign in with your Microsoft account on the web through Microsoft Edge using Windows Hello or a FIDO 2 Yubikey. 

Canceling Amazon Prime is easy, and you might get a refund

Don't be intimidated. Learning how to cancel Amazon Prime is easier than you might think. You might even get a partial or full refund on the cost, depending on how much you've used it. Check out our quick-hit guide for doing so.

Editing a PDF is easy when you have the right tools in hand

Editing PDF files can be a real pain, but there are a few tricks to make the process a bit easier. This guide will give you three easy methods for how to edit a PDF, two of which work without needing Adobe Acrobat.

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.

Problems with installing or updating Windows 10? Here's how to fix them

Upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10 is usually a breeze, but sometimes you run into issues. Never fear though, our guide will help you isolate the issue at hand and solve it in a timely manner.