As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, an expert warned retailers and consumers to exercise vigilance since cybercriminals use these events as an advantage to attack people.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021
To give detailed information about Black Friday, Investopedia stated that it is the day following the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Aside from this, it is traditionally a day filled with exceptional shopping offers and deep discounts. It also marks the start of the Christmas holiday shopping season.
On a positive note, Black Friday sales are frequently regarded as an indicator of the country's general economic health and a tool for economists to assess the average American's willingness to spend discretionary money.
On the other hand, Cyber Monday is an e-commerce phrase that refers to the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend in the United States, per Investopedia. In addition, Cyber Monday arrives four days after Thanksgiving, which was developed to attract customers to purchase online.
Consumers look forward to Cyber Monday for a variety of reasons. Some individuals do not want to spend time away from their families over the holidays in order to obtain a good deal, while others do not want to stand in massive queues on Black Friday.
People have a convenient, hassle-free method to purchase and take advantage of some fantastic discounts on Cyber Monday. This is even more appealing to purchase online now that most companies are giving free delivery as a bonus.
Despite the benefit that Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring, an expert warned retailers of ransomware attacks.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Ransomware Warning
According to the director of operations, MDR, at PDI Software Tom Callahan, cybersecurity is much of a concern during the shopping period similar to the supply issues that are making headlines, per Digital Journal. In addition to this, the most serious threat comes in the form of ransomware and its variations.
It is worth noting that ransomware is still the fastest-growing type of cybercrime, with a new instance emerging every 11 seconds around the world, per Cybercrime Magazine.
"Leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers have been hearing about potential issues with retail and delivery supply chains. Although there are a lot of reasons why certain products might not be on store shelves or deliveries might be delayed, one reason we can't overlook is cybersecurity," Callahan furthered on Digital Journal.
Because the retail supply chain is becoming more digital and interconnected, a single cyberattack on one firm may swiftly affect the whole chain, and an example of this is Extortionware.
For those who are not familiar with Extortionware, Emisoft stated that it is the most advanced kind of ransomware and it is a type of cyberattack wherein the malicious attacker threatens to harm the victim if their demands are not fulfilled.
Extortionware cyberattacks are often specifically tailored. They often attack companies that deal with sensitive or high-value data, such as the medical, financial, and educational industries.
For this reason, Callahan explores more into the ransomware problem, noting that companies who are failing to comply with the attackers' demand may put their customers' information in danger.
"If a business gets breached and decides not to pay the ransom to get their data back, cybercriminals are now using that data to extort not only the business but the customers and partners of that business as well. As a result, the blast radius of a cyberattack can escalate very quickly across a wide footprint. That has the potential to completely disrupt the retail supply chain," Callahan explained in detail.
In addition to this, Callahan advised that businesses must comply with their established security's best practices and maintain awareness to prevent this from occurring.