Research by Kaspersky Lab revealed that when the holiday shopping season unofficially kicks off on Black Friday, the number of financial phishing attacks is expected to surge.
The Kaspersky Lab Black Friday Threat Overview 2016 report predicts that the observed pattern of the holiday period bringing along increases in phishing and other types of attacks will continue this year. Over the last few years, researchers have noted that the peak season for sales can also be a peak busy season for cybercriminals.
“While e-commerce customers are anticipating big sales, retailers are preparing for increases in store visitors, and financial infrastructures are getting ready for a huge increase in transactions; cybercriminals are preparing too,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.
According to Kaspersky Lab threat statistics, in 2014 and 2015 the number of phishing sites that hunt financial data that were discovered by the company during Q4 (which covers the holiday season) was nearly nine percentage points higher compared to the rest of the year.
Financial phishing in all of 2014 was 28.73 percent, while in Q4 alone the result was 38.49 percent. In 2015, 34.33 percent of all phishing attacks were focused on procuring financial data, but in Q4, financial phishing was responsible for 43.38 percent of all attacks.
“In 2014, we conducted some research into how the phishing threat landscape behaves itself in the holiday period, and discovered that the number of attacks against particular targets – payment systems and famous retail networks – increased during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period,” Andrey Kostin, senior web content analyst at Kaspersky Lab, explained. “In 2015, the situation repeated itself and this makes us think that in 2016 it will happen again. So we urge users to be as cautious as possible when shopping online this season.”