14 December 2017

South Africa: Christmas Unleashes Cyber Crooks On Online Consumers

Johannesburg — CONSUMERS eager to spend on their festive season gift online could be at risk of losing up to R68 228 (over US$12 400) per incident as fraudsters across the world are on the prowl to fill up their own Christmas 'stockings.'

This is according to a security strategist in the wake of the rise in adoption of multiple devices by consumers. These include mobile phones, tablets, laptops and personal computers.

The massive adoption is coupled with the fact that more countries have greater bandwidth available to them now than they did in the past.

It is thus predictable that 2017 is expected to be the worst year ever in cybercrime incidents during the festive season.

Mark Thomas, Security Strategist for global information technology group, Dimension Data, said over the next six weeks, there would be an an increase in email phishing campaigns, ransomware attacks, banking trojans as well as the emergence of fraudulent websites that promote special deals such as discounted holiday packages.

"Fraudulent gift cards, which may take you to an untrusted site or allow a download of a file to your computer that could compromise your device, will also become more prevalent," Thomas said.

Also on cybercriminals' shopping list are bogus shipping delivery status notifications designed to entice you to click on malicious links, unsolicited emails offerings special deals, and fake receipts for online purchases which prompt you to open attachments containing ransomware.

Thomas offered some tips including never using public Wi-Fi when making online purchases and never open e-mails, click on links, or open attachments from unfamiliar sources.

Consumers must download legitimate applications from known, trusted sources onto their devices and be wary of unsolicited emails that promise exciting offers.'

They must opt for credit card rather than debit card.

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