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‘DISCOUNTED’ BLACK FRIDAY

Black Friday is the biggest sale event of the year when many products are heavily discounted. But why is it called Black Friday?

It is widely believed that the day after Thanksgiving, “Black Friday” stores would go from operating at a loss or being “in the red” to earning a profit or being “in the dark”. While this is technically true, the term’s origins are slightly darker.

Black Friday for 2022 is Today! November 25, 2022.

Cybersecurity experts are warning customers to beware of scams. Retailers are being informed of threat actors using bots as attack vectors for new attack inventories.

Usually, holiday shopping and special sales event are “prime opportunities” for scammers and cybercriminals to take advantage of shoppers through fake websites, malicious links, and even juicy fake discounted offers to steal sensitive information such as credit card details.

As IAM Bench observed, some of the tactics used by threat actors include threatening actors crafting malicious versions of legitimate websites to lure victims into providing personal and sensitive information such as payment card information.

Researchers at Check Point Security have found dozen of fake websites spoofing well-known brands like “Louis Vuitton” with the subject line: “Black Friday Sale. Start at $100. You’ll Fall in Love with Prices.

Other cybersecurity firms have seen dramatic spikes in spam. Brianna Groves, a security engineer for CyberGRX, noted that they are seeing an increase in fake delivery notifications, banking alerts, travel offers, and holiday job offers.

Impact of fake discounts and phishing scam

Spoofed websites can impact a legitimate brand or retailer’s reputation and lower customer trust. Phishing can damage both the victim and the impersonated brand or retailer, and a customer may never transact with a brand they had once fallen victim to a phishing scam.

Employees accidentally falling foul of phishing attacks is still one of the most common attack vectors used by threat actors to gain initial access into an organization’s internal network to deploy ransomware or malware.

Also, credential theft may lead to major business disruption. Once passwords are stolen, a cyber-criminal has potentially opened the doors to an organization’s highly confidential data, which could lead to employees and organizations receiving extortion emails demanding payments to avoid the release of sensitive data or information. A typical example is the Twillo data breach incident earlier this year when a threat actor group “socially engineered” some of its employees and used their credentials to access Twilio’s customer’s information.

Some mitigation against phishing scams from bogus discounts

  • Domain typosquat – shoppers should look out for misspellings in brands domains e.g “gucci.com” can be typosquatted to “guci.com” or by creating “Gucci” as a malicious subdomain i.e “gucci.blackfriday.com”.
  • Avoid putting payment information into any website that does not have a secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption installed. To know if the site has SSL, look for the “S” in HTTPS instead of HTTP. An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically to the left of the URL in the address bar or the status bar down below.
  • Always use multi-factor authentication, double-check website addresses and make sure any emails offering sales are legitimate.
  • Consumers should be vigilant this holiday season of fake Black Friday shops trying to take advantage of shoppers looking for good Black Friday deals.
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