Nick Mothershaw, Director of Fraud & Identity Solutions at Experian, warns consumers and businesses to remain vigilant towards cybercrime ahead of Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday (1st December) is one of the biggest e-commerce shopping days of the year. With the volume of transactions expected, it also offers cyber criminals a huge opportunity to commit cyber fraud in the form of malware attacks and other scams to target retailers and consumers who are making purchases and online or through their mobile devices.
With Cyber Monday just around the corner, Nick Mothershaw, Director of Fraud and Identity Solutions at Experian, highlights the growing threat of cyber fraud and how customers and businesses can protect themselves from mobile and online fraud:
“Smartphones and tablets have rapidly grown in popularity. Many consumers will be using their mobile devices to make purchases and transactions on Cyber Monday, with little awareness of the lack of security on these devices, creating a massive opportunity for cyber criminals to strike. Experian forecasts a spend of £649.6m on Cyber Monday, equivalent to £451k per minute, with 145 million web site visits – a 26 per cent increase on last year. Smartphones and tablets are set to account for over half of all traffic to retail websites during the festive season, with online spend via mobile devices is set to reach over £196m. All in all this means the opportunities for fraudsters are huge – probably more so than most other days of the year. Both consumers, as well as businesses, must remain vigilant and wise up to the facts to help to prevent themselves, or their customers, from being a victim of cyber fraud.
“Recent research carried out by Experian on device fraud found that 60 per cent of smartphone users, and almost half of tablet users have no malware protection on their devices, which leaves them extremely vulnerable to cybercrime. In the last year alone, our research found that one in six UK adults have fallen victim to a cybercrime attack, and on a global scale, we have seen an 80 per cent increase in phishing attacks directed at mobile devices. Cyber-attacks can be anything from phishing emails, which could result in a fraudster taking over your online account, a fraudster accessing your personal details and then using them offline to commit fraud, and session hijacking attacks where a user’s browsing is interrupted by a hacker and monitored or even hijacked. Malware, whereby malicious software is put onto the device to access their information, was seen as the biggest security threat to mobile devices by three in ten people.
“There are a number of simple steps people can take to protect themselves from online fraud attacks. Smartphones can hold a wealth of information, from cached passwords to online accounts and apps, contacts and other personal information. As Cyber Monday comes around and we move into the holiday season and online shopping increases, people should try to follow these best practices to ensure they are protected:
1. Always use a home screen lock on your mobile device.
2. Don’t store account names and passwords or digital pictures of your passport.
3. Remember that public Wi-Fi networks are riskier than private networks, so be careful with the information you access and share when out and about.
4. Your email account is linked to many other accounts and can hold a large amount of personally-identifiable information. Beware of phishing – if an email seems suspicious, don’t open it or click on any links within the email. A legitimate company will never ask for your account details via email. If contacts have received emails from you that you did not send, change all your online passwords immediately.
5. Social media sites can reveal your date of birth, maiden name, email address and enough information to help a fraudster identify possible PIN and/or passwords. Consider how much you really need to share.”