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Cybercriminals targeting online deal-hunters ahead of Black Friday, as new data reveals phishing related to Amazon is up 106% vs. last year

November 2020 by Webroot

Webroot reveals that phishing related to Amazon is up 106% in November vs. this time last year – as deal-hunters shop online ahead of Black Friday, as a result of the pandemic.

Cybercriminals targeting online deal-hunters ahead of Black Friday, as new data reveals phishing related to Amazon is up 106% vs. last year.

Amazon is heading for a bumper Black Friday, with recent predictions suggesting that the online retailer will hoover up 65% of all spend with at least 67% of British consumers ditching bricks and mortar outlets in favour of web-based spending this year.

In light of this news Webroot, a market leader in cyber resilience, has released new statistics revealing a huge spike in phishing URLs that include the word ‘Amazon’. The company’s Real-Time Anti-Phishing protection system found the following:
• Phishes targeting Amazon were up 64% in October, when compared to September, reflecting Prime Day volumes.
• As of the 15th, November is registering a further 45% increase in average daily Amazon phishes detected when compared to October. This reflects Black Friday deals which have started nearly a month in advance.

When comparing these figures with 2019:
• There was a 101% increase in phishing related to ‘Amazon’ in October 2020 vs. 2019, double the number of phishes compared to last year
• Average daily phishes detected related to ‘Amazon’ in November 2020 vs. 2019 were up 106%, over double the number of phishes in this month last year (up to the 15th of each month).

Kelvin Murray, Senior Threat Researcher at Webroot, said:

“We often see a rise in online scams targeting consumers and retailers in the last two months of the year, but this seems to be heightened this year amid the increase in online shopping as a result of the pandemic. Cybercriminals are smart, and frequently change their tactics in line with the news agenda. By using a household name such as Amazon, they can target a large volume of individuals in one go.

Besides Amazon, we’ve also caught a number of phishing pages selling the iPhone Pro 11. Phishing criminals often try to hijack the hype around a new product launch, and these pages are likely to try and appeal to an audience who are looking for price drops on the 11 model, now that the latest one has come out.

Our message to online deal-hunters is that they should remain vigilant in scrutinising the types of emails they receive, and links they click on, as they look for deals related to Black Friday and Christmas. This should also be underpinned by cybersecurity technology such as email filtering, anti-virus protection, and strong password policies.

Businesses should ensure they are backing up data and that backup can be restored, in case a phishing attack on an employee leads to a ransomware infection on the company network. They should also focus on implementing security awareness training for all staff and real time phishing detection, which are the frontline defences against these kinds of attacks.

We’ve seen that cyber attackers are refusing to show any mercy during this pandemic, and they will continue to exploit it in every possible way.”




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