Holiday Shopping Threat Avoidance

November 23, 2015 - 1 Comment

The holidays are upon us and the shopping season is kicking into high gear. This year, an estimated 270 million consumers will shop online and, for the first time, more than half of them will use mobile devices to check off their holiday shopping lists.

With consumers searching for holiday discounts through display ads, social media and email, Cisco Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group predict that both malvertising and email spam will be significant vectors for cyber crime this season — especially for mobile shoppers. This is worrisome for the simple reason that most mobile devices do not posses the ability to block many of these threats, leading to increased vulnerabilities as attackers seek profit gain during the busiest time for online commerce.

Through their research, Talos found that Android users are particularly vulnerable. Of the all Apple and Android OS blocks observed on the Cisco’s Cloud Web Security (CWS) platform, the Talos team found that nearly 95% were Android-related. At the heart of the problem, many users are running significantly older versions of the Android OS, which lack the security updates for today’s most persistent threats. This holiday season, we advise that our mobile shoppers exercise additional caution.

Keep reading for more on our findings and recommendations.

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  1. Something to keep in mind when shopping online – use services such as PayPal to pay for your purchases. With PayPal, the vendor NEVER sees your actual credit card / account information.

    By using a service such as this, you can be assured your financial information is kept confidential – no worrying about a vendor printing off your information and then leaving it on a desk, or not handling it securely, or not shredding it. YOU can do everything correctly to protect your information, one vendor misusing it can result in a nightmare for you.