The phenomenon that is Black Friday is very nearly upon us once more. As a result, a flurry of purchases will take place over the coming days. That means there will be large amounts of data being exchanged, something cyber criminals will be looking to cash in on. A recent survey found that 92% of UK shoppers are aware of Black Friday, which has resulted in the highest spend levels ever witnessed in the UK over the last five years. Furthermore, it’s common for many of the best deals to be found online. This is where cyber crime, despite always being a threat, really starts to become a problem.

Phishing attacks

During the period around Black Friday, numerous promotional emails are sent, in the hope of attracting customers to shop with them and land themselves a bargain. Such emails are not always legitimate however. Even if they look like the brand you believe them to be, it may be a phishing attempt. By clicking on a link within an email, personal details can be stolen by the attacker if you proceed to login to the bogus website. Therefore, you must exercise caution before deciding to follow any links that are included within any email you receive.

Financial malware

Not all phishing emails contain a link to follow. Some will include an attachment, promoting a special Black Friday announcement, perhaps in the form of an image. By selecting the attachment, the user may unwittingly install a piece of malware, infecting their systems. This can lead to banking credentials being stolen. Users can help to protect themselves against the malware by installing an anti-virus solution. This may not provide full protection, but it will make it more difficult for attackers to attain sensitive information.

Online scams

There are several forms of online scamming that can take place at anytime. However, the frequency of potential scams increase considerably in the lead up to Black Friday. Special offers are in abundance throughout this period, and cyber criminals use this to their advantage. You should double check with a company before making any purchases, to make sure that the offer is actually coming from where it’s claimed. If an offer seems too good to be true, it normally follows that it is.