Black Friday (or Cyber Weekend if you prefer) is the biggest online shopping period of the year. Unfortunately, it’s also a busy time for cybercriminals. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, it could be the hackers who end up getting a bargain. 

DO NOT WASTE all that extensive marketing effort in SEO, Google ads, and social media by not protecting your companies online website and social media profiles to the best of your ability. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out many businesses’ annual profits, Black Friday and the festive season are a chance to turn this year around. A cyberattack at this time could be absolutely ruinous.

Why do criminals target Black Friday?

Put simply, more traffic means more opportunities. With so many extra customers, cybercriminals have a better chance of finding the less savvy people who only shop online once a year. Hackers also know that most companies are desperate to keep their sites up and running during the festive period. This means that they can use ransomware and other similar methods to take a site offline and then charge a business to restore it.

What are the most common types of attacks?

Cybercrime of all kinds is on the rise, but malware attacks are especially common over the festive period. In 2019 there were 129.3 million malware attacks between 25th November and 2nd December in the USA alone. Most of these were intended to harvest customer data or trick customers into giving up their bank details. 

Recent years have also seen a marked increase in social engineering attacks – the hacking of employee social media and email in an attempt to find sensitive internal information that can be used to trick customers. 

What are the risks?

There are two main risks that come with cyberattacks – financial and reputational. The financial risks are fairly self-explanatory. A cyberattack can have a serious impact on your profits, either by stealing from you directly or by putting your website out of action at a time when customers would usually spend a lot of money. Research shows that even a one-second delay on an eCommerce site translates into a 7% loss of sales, so the potential financial damage is huge. If hackers steal sensitive information, you may also find yourself facing a hefty GDPR fine. 

Suffering a cyberattack can also harm your brand’s reputation. A recent survey showed that 19% of consumers would stop using a site that suffered a data breach, and a further 33% would take an extended break following an attack. 

How to stay safe?

Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to stay safe this Black Friday:

– install the latest antivirus software and firewalls

– conduct a full security audit to flag up any weaknesses

– come up with a disaster recovery plan to minimise the damage of an attack

– train your staff to spot phishing scams and other common dangers

– re-examine all of your security measures to make sure they are GDPR compliant

Protecting your profits is more important than ever, and a little advance planning could be the difference between success and failure in 2020.



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