Black Friday sales: Security researchers warn of cybercrime threat

Consumers have to watch out for more than just bargains during this year’s Black Friday shopping spree, according to Kaspersky Lab.

The security firm is warning shoppers that cybercriminal activity, particularly fraud, is also likely to peak over the period.

Read more: Black Friday 2015: Advice and analysis from those in the know

In particular, the threat of financial phishing attacks and malware is high. Phishing attacks against banks, e-shops and payments systems represented 28.73 per cent of phishing attacks in 2014 and there were also 22.9 million financial malware attacks over the same period.

David Mole, head of retail at Kaspersky Lab, reiterated how important it is for consumers to remain vigilant when shopping online.

“It’s important to be aware that online fraud comes in many shapes and sizes,” he said. “One of the most popular methods to target consumers is the use of phishing emails – targeting consumers with tailored emails with the aim to get them to click on a malicious link. These types of emails are increasingly common when money is the outcome.”

Rather than avoiding Internet shopping altogether, Kaspersky Lab is advising consumers to be aware of a few simple steps to help them stay safe online. Consumers should, of course, have Internet security applications installed and ensure that their applications are up-to-date to protect against the latest security threats. They should also only shop with secure websites and use a complex password on all sites that they frequent.

To avoid becoming a target for spam or phishing attempts, consumers should be wary of clicking on email links and be careful about the kind of information they share online, particularly through social media sites.

Read more: In-store tech will improve Black Friday experience

Despite the threat of cybercrime, this year’s Black Friday sales are still expected to be the biggest in retail history, with analysts expecting them to generate sales in excess of £1 billion.

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