Shopping online this Christmas? Beware of cyber attacks

Cybercriminals are now increasingly targeting online shopping platforms that operate through e-payment systems, it has now emerged.

A survey by Kaspersky, a global cyber security and digital company, indicates a huge increase of 208 percent in online payment fraud during Black Friday and Christmas season.

Tatyana Shcherbakova, a security expert at Kaspersky, said there is always a surge in scam cases around Black Friday and Christmas.

 “Perhaps a bit more unexpected is the attention being paid to e-payment systems,” She noted.

 “This time, we discovered a huge increase by 208percent in a number of attacks mimicking the most popular payment systems. Of course, every new payment application is seen by scammers as a new opportunity to potentially exploit users.”

Online shopping platforms such as Alibaba, Amazon, Jumia, Walmart, eBay and Mercado are now the most targeted platforms by online fraudsters.

“e-payment systems such as PayPal, Visa, MasterCard and American Express have been victims of this online fraud,” said Ms Shcherbakova.

Online shopping became popular when lockdown was introduced in various parts of the world last year as a way of curbing the spread of Covid-19 virus. Cyber criminals took advantage of the increase in online traffic to strike more.

Fraudsters, the survey says, are now using phishing method to monitor clients who order various commodities online. They look for fake websites to phish for users’ credentials before making their advances. They have techniques that create fake websites offering great deals for popular shopping portals in various languages.

 “The scammers can also create fake login pages. If users attempt to sign into their account, the scammers gain their login information, giving access not only to the victims’ accounts, but to all financial information stored there. These pages might look almost identical to the real platforms’ login pages, with only the misspelled URL giving away the fake,” said

 “So, in order to protect your data and finances it will be a safe practice to make sure the online payment page is secure: you’ll know it is if the web page’s URL begins with HTTPS instead of the usual HTTP and an icon of a lock will also typically appear beside the URL’, added Tatyana.

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