If the deal is too good to be true, it’s probably a malicious website

It is that time of the year again when we scour the internet for the best Black Friday, Cyber Monday and festive holiday deals. Ever the opportunists, it is also prime hacking season for cyber criminals, with malicious website on a steep rise.

This according to Check Point Research (CPR), with the cybersecurity firm’s recent findings showing that the number of malicious websites has jumped 178 percent of late.

Over 5 300 malicious sites per week were discovered by the company, making it highest number since the beginning of 2021.

Hackers are sending consumers enticing email offers with subject lines claiming discounted merchandise as high as 85% off. CPR warns online shoppers to watch out for offers that are too good to be true in the run-up to November’s e-shopping holidays,” the firm notes.  

Sincerest form of flattery

In its findings, Check Point saw many a malicious website using a copycat tactic to pretend to be the genuine article, with the likes of Micheal Kors and Amazon Japan being mimicked.

CPR discovered an email sent from ‘Amazon. Urgent notice’. The email address contained a Chinese domain and the email had a subject in Japanese saying ‘System Notification: Unfortunately, we were unable to renew your Аmazon account’ (translated from Japanese). The link in the email led to a website masquerading as website in both the name and the look https://www[.]amazon-co-jp[.],” Check Point unearthed. 

Added to this is messaging with discounts far lower than what a genuine retailer would mark down, with up to 85 percent in the case of Michael Kors. While it is a fashion retailer, this tactic highlights the fact that hackers are trying to tackle advantage of consumers’ desire to find great savings, which appear to be in low supply at the moment.

Hypertext has noted this of late, with the coming shopping season potentially being lacklustre in terms of deals compared to previous years, as component shortages and supply chain issues continue to impact and myriad industries.

Be overly cautious

“Their strategy is to capitalize on a consumer’s excitement after showing an eye-popping discount. I strongly urge consumers to beware of these ‘too good to be true’ offers as they shop online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” explains Omer Dembinsky, Data Group manager at Check Point Software.

“You can protect yourself by being attentive to lookalike domains, shopping from reliable sources and spotting password reset and other account related notifications that show excessive urgency. Do not click these links, and if needed – go directly to the website and change details from your account,” he advises.

It therefore pays to be patient this shopping season, as the pursuit of the best deals possible could end up in your details and money landing in the hands of hackers.

[Image – Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash]


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