9 Essential Tips for Black Friday Cybersecurity

With online shopping growing in popularity year after year, criminals are looking to exploit these shopping habits[...]
By Daniella Balaban
image November 17, 2022 image 5 MIN READ

With online shopping growing in popularity year after year, criminals are looking to exploit these shopping habits. Events like Black Friday are used as an opportunity for cybercriminals to access systems and private data.

In 2021, worldwide sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday totaled $6.3 billion. With each of these sales, traces of personal information are left behind, enticing hackers to find vulnerabilities in retailers’ security perimeters to steal customer data. Phishing attacks jumped by 200% in the months leading up to Black Friday, and there was a 300% spike in malware attacks that day.

In this article, we share security strategies you can implement to reduce cyber risk and protect your brand and customers.

Why Is Black Friday a Threat to Businesses?

While consumers need to be alert and follow basic security protocols, the security burden cannot be solely on them. When polled, 86% of consumers think that the security of their data is the business’ responsibility, which isn’t only a preference but a necessity, given that 59% of those respondents don’t feel competent at protecting their data.

Consumer confidence in your brand is vital to your success. It means your customers know they can trust you, not only with the quality of your products but with their data as well. Securing sensitive information directly affects a business’s bottom line (even before considering the cost of damages, fines, etc.).

Consumers are concerned that data breaches could lead to their private information or payment details being stolen and used to commit fraud or other crimes. Increasingly, customers are also weary of fake websites that defraud them out of their money for no product in return. 

There are a few practical steps you can take to firm up your Black Friday cybersecurity to prevent damaging attacks on your brand or clients:

With these in place, your customers will have a seamless checkout experience with all the relevant security certificates visible to them, letting them know their data is safe if they purchase from you.

What Are the Key Cyber Risks During Black Friday?

Impact of Cyberattacks on Business

Cyberattacks do not just target enterprise companies. In fact, small retail businesses are 50% more likely to be targeted than enterprise companies and lose an average of $200,000 if attacked. Most small businesses cannot handle an attack’s fallout, leading to downtime, reputational damage, and even business closure.

9 Essential Tips for Black Friday Cybersecurity

1. Analyze Your Cyber Risks

Do a thorough rundown of areas that could be at potential risk. Searching for vulnerabilities using a cyber risk assessment framework allows you to identify and fix any security holes and implement new security protocols before damage can be done.

2. Create a Cybersecurity Plan for Black Friday 

A plan for Black Friday cybersecurity can involve multiple approaches. Work with your marketing and security teams to implement approaches that prevent cyberattacks. Tactics like early bird deals or custom site designs for Black Friday can make it more difficult for criminals to impersonate you and fool your customers. Build a plan with your security team about areas to monitor and what the protocol is if an attack is discovered. Prevention is key, so having a plan in place can save you valuable time and money.

3. Utilize Automated Data Security and Compliance

Automated data security and compliance services scan your network and notify you in real-time of any suspicious activity, allowing you to act before any damage is done. The concept of automated security and compliance checks can also apply to employee training. Using an automated solution that conducts, monitors, and reports on employee cybersecurity training can help you ensure your employees are always up-to-date on cybersecurity best practices.  

4. Update All Your Web Apps and Plugins

Old applications can be more vulnerable to attacks on Black Friday. Black Friday preparations can lead your tech teams to be more focused on ensuring your app can handle the upcoming surge in demand rather than on cybersecurity measures. Combined with the fact many shoppers will be using or updating apps they haven’t used in months, old apps and plugins can provide hackers with easy access to sensitive information if they haven’t been secured. Updating your apps and plugins can prevent hackers from taking advantage of these vulnerabilities. 

5. Beware of Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are expensive, and considerable damage will likely be done once an attack has happened. Avoid ransomware altogether by taking a proactive approach. Investing in the right cybersecurity solution is more affordable than having all your data held for ransom.  

6. Train Your Employees 

A vast majority of cyberattacks involve human error, so training your employees in security awareness is imperative. Cybersecurity awareness training teaches your employees security best practices, how to spot a malicious phishing attempt, and what to do if they’ve found something suspicious.

7. Encourage Staff to Shop on Personal Devices 

If your employees are using company devices to do their online Black Friday shopping, they’re exposing your network to risks. They could click on a bad link, not recognize a suspicious email attachment, or fall victim to other attacks that could be disastrous for your company. Encourage them to shop from their personal devices rather than from a company device or network.   

8. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor 

Monitor everything you can think to monitor. Your servers, website traffic, social media mentions, and anywhere else that could tip you off that something might not be right so that you can act as soon as possible. This is where a good automated monitoring tool can come in handy – by doing all of the monitoring work for you and alerting you when something suspicious is detected.  

9. Protect your Brand 

Black Friday is an ideal time for cybercriminals to imitate your business – whether it is through phishing emails, domain spoofing, or any other type of imitation attack, which comes in many forms. Being able to track and warn against potential unauthorized usage is key to being able to deploy preemptive protection for your brand. Keep your customers’ trust in you by putting a stop to hackers’ attempts to compromise your website or email domain name through a comprehensive brand integrity strategy.

 

How Your Team Can Overcome Black Friday Cybersecurity Threats 

The Black Friday deal no one bargained for is a cyberattack that led to their data being breached. While consumers can take steps to protect themselves, businesses must also take proactive steps to protect not only their customers but their business and employees as well. 

The first line of defense is your people. That’s why cybersecurity awareness training is vital for any organization taking security seriously. With CybeReady’s out-of-the-box training, your employees receive thorough and engaging training that reinforces learning and gives them the skills they need to detect and mitigate attacks or data breaches during this popular shopping holiday. 

Discover how CybeReady can protect your business from cybercrimes over Black Friday. 

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