November 27, 2019 |

Brits plan to go to extreme lengths to grab a bargain this Black Friday but are leaving themselves exposed to cyber-criminals

Brits are gearing up to grab a bargain this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with 17% already considering pulling a sickie. Over half of UK online shoppers will use a mobile device to shop for deals, but more than one in five (21%) will shop on unsecure smartphones or using open wifi networks (19%). F-Secure […]
  • Brits are gearing up to grab a bargain this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with 17% already considering pulling a sickie.
  • Over half of UK online shoppers will use a mobile device to shop for deals, but more than one in five (21%) will shop on unsecure smartphones or using open wifi networks (19%).
  • F-Secure is warning people to install security software on any devices they’re shopping online with as last year the average count of spam increased by 45% during Cyber Monday.
  • Brits are one and a half times more likely to be affected by financial fraud than people in other countries with 26% of people reporting that they or someone in their family have been affected by credit card fraud, compared to an average 17% in other countries.

November 27, London: New research released today highlights the lengths Brits will go to to grab a bargain online, even though they may be leaving themselves vulnerable to cybercrime.

Ahead of the big shopping weekend, 17% of those surveyed admitted that they would consider pulling a sickie during Black Friday and Cyber Monday; 32% stated they were already putting items in their basket in anticipation; while a dedicated 18% admitted they would shop on their mobile phone while on the toilet to secure the best deals.

Over half of UK online shoppers use a mobile device to shop for deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but more than one in five (21%) will shop on unsecure smartphones (with no security software installed). And nearly 1 in 5 (19%) intend to shop on their commute or during their lunch break using free public wifi (17%), all of which puts them at greater risk from cybercriminals who are also looking to cash in.

With Black Friday a growing phenomenon in the UK, and now the busiest retail period of the year, it’s no surprise that last year GCHQ predicted consumer loses of around £30 million due to online fraud.

F-Secure, Europe’s largest cyber security company, has found that the biggest security pitfalls people fall into during online shopping peaks are:

  • Not having any protection on their mobile devices with three in four (75%) admitting that they don’t have security software installed to protect themselves from spam.
  • Making one fateful click on a fake promotional email that promises an incredible deal, with over two thirds (69%) admitting they click on the links in emails rather than going directly to the website.
  • Having easy to guess passwords or the same password across multiple account log-ins, with only three in ten (30%) people ensuring all their accounts have strong, unique passwords, and just under one in eight (12%) using a password manager.

Tom Gaffney, cybersecurity consultant at F-Secure said: “When using a mobile phone, people are more likely to be in a System 1 mode of thinking where their guard is down and they make fast, unconscious, automatic decisions. People are much more error prone in this state of mind and more susceptible to cybercrime like phishing attacks. Add to this the heightened number of phishing emails – an increase of 45% during Cyber Monday and 21% leading up to the New Year in 2018 – and you’ve created a hackers field day.”

He continued: “Hackers prey on our vulnerabilities around this time of year so we’re urging consumers to be extra vigilant and to use software protection online to keep themselves safe.”

Additional international research by F-Secure, a company which has three decades of experience stopping advanced cyber attacks, shows that Brits are one and a half times more likely to be affected by financial fraud than people in other countries. Just over a quarter (26%) of people reported that they or someone in their family have been affected by credit card fraud, compared to an average 17% in other countries. Additionally, almost twice as many Brits (9%) reported unauthorised access to their online bank, in comparison to an average of 5% in other countries.

To help keep consumers safe when shopping online this Black Friday, F-secure have shared their top five tips:

  1. Forget your passwords.

If you can remember your passwords, they’re too weak. So what do you do with more than a dozen passwords you cannot remember? Use a password manager.

  1. Secure all your accounts with two-factor authentication.

The best password in the world can still be compromised if it is not properly secured by the site you’ve trusted with. Use two-factor authentication to secure your accounts whenever possible.

  1. If you’re going to shop on your phone, use a retailer’s app.

On your phone you may be even more vulnerable to some basic scams. Since URLs are harder to view on a smaller screen, you could be tricked by the explosion of tricky newer top-level domains, such as .family or .club. Stick the official apps on your device and you won’t have to worry about checking those web addresses.

  1. Use one browser for all of your shopping and financial transactions.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Chrome, Firefox, Edge Opera or Safari. Pick one browser and only use it for anything that involves shopping, banking or checking your financial accounts. And don’t touch it for anything else—especially social media.

  1. Take a vacation from clicking on the links in email.

Criminals take advantage of holiday distractions and expectations of gifts and packages being shipped to your home. Keep your focus by avoiding clicking on links in all emails and going directly to a retailer or shipper’s site.

More information on how to stay safe online this black Friday can be found here.

Consumers can find out more about F-secures online safety tools here.

Methodology:

Consumer research was carried out by Vital Research and Statistics, on behalf of F-secure, and surveyed a sample comprised of 2,005 UK adults. Research was carried out online between 1st November 2019 and 4th November 2019. F-secure identity protection survey was conducted in May 2019 in cooperation with Toluna, and surveyed a sample comprised of 3,600 people aged 25+ and nationally representative, across the USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan.

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