"Gray Saturday" Safer for Online Shopping

"Gray Saturday" Safer for Online Shopping

Kaspersky Lab’s review of phishing attacks during the holiday sales season found that the number of phishing attacks can decrease by as much as 33 percent on the day after Black Friday.

In its 2017 Beyond Black Friday Threat Report, Kaspersky Lab found that the day after Black Friday, which it dubs “Gray Saturday,” is significantly safer for consumers who do their shopping online. Kaspersky Lab’s review of phishing attacks during the holiday sales season found that the number of phishing attacks can decrease by as much as 33 percent on this day.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $967.13 during this year’s holiday season, and those who shop online face the risk of being phished and having their personal information and security compromised. Financial phishing now accounts for about half of all phishing attacks, and research shows phishers often exploit Black Friday in their attacks by impersonating retail brands or disguising attacks as security alerts.

“The rise in people using online payments, banking and shopping means that financial phishing attacks are now consistently high all year round, but the holiday season makes it so much easier to hide in the noise,” said Nadezhda Demidova, lead web-content analyst at Kaspersky Lab. “At this time of year, marketing and advertising levels go through the roof, and with consumers increasingly making their transactions on mobile devices – often while out and about and in a hurry – almost everyone is more exposed and has less time to think and check.

Kaspersky Lab research found evidence of a dip in financial phishing attacks on Gray Saturday in both 2015 and 2016, with 2016 showing a drop of 33 percent in the number of attacks mimicking popular online retail and payment brands on this day despite it being the second biggest shopping day of the holiday season.

“Weekends generally see lower numbers of attacks and fewer people online, but on this big shopping day that’s an extra advantage,” Demidova said. “We expect this trend from 2016 to continue in 2017, so if you plan on shopping online these holidays, choose the day wisely.”

Here are some tips to protect yourself against phishing attacks and other security risks while chasing down Black Friday bargains:

  • Don’t click on links received from unknown sources or any suspicious-looking links.
  • Don’t use insecure public Wi-Fi networks to make online payments, as those hotspots can easily be hacked and your confidential information can be stolen.
  • Don’t enter credit card details on unfamiliar or suspicious websites. Always check that the website is legitimate before entering any personal information.
  • Only use sites that run with a secure connection—the address should begin with https://.
  • Be mindful when sites request a great deal of personal information—ask yourself whether the site actually needs all the information it requests.
  • Remember that banks and payment companies will never ask you to email them your credentials. When in doubt, call them.
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