E-commerce site owners must take note of large-scale attempts to flood e-commerce sites on Black Friday that fraudsters and scammers are expected to make to steal and use payment card data, gift cards, and loyalty points, or sell the verified data on the dark web.
Security firm Radware has predicted that there could be a thousand-fold increase in the number of attempts scammers will make to flood e-commerce sites with bad bot traffic and to hijack e-commerce login pages on Black Friday in order to steal credit card data or gift cards.
This is because scammers will try to exploit the unprecedented Internet traffic that e-commerce sites are expected to receive on Black Friday. Hijacking the login page of even one e-commerce website will enable scammers to steal a large number of credit cards, gift cards, and loyalty points that they will either use or sell on dark web marketplaces.
According to Radware's Annual Bad Bot report, the use of malicious bots by cyber criminals accounted for 28% of e-commerce traffic last year and with Black Friday expected to generate $10 billion in online sales this year, a 39% year on year increase, the use of malicious bots is also expected to rise multi-fold.
Number of account takeover attacks from bots on login page of a Radware e-commerce customer 2019
"Radware predicts it will be a bumper year for account takeovers using ‘credential stuffing’ where bots are used to carry out cross-checks of stolen customer data and login information against that held by e-commerce sites. The main objective is to find a match and then steal and use credit card information, gift cards, and hard-earned loyalty points, or sell the verified data on the dark web," the firm said.
“The minute retailers see unusual traffic patterns they should assume an attack is underway and it’s designed to slow the site down, take it offline or steal data,” said Pascal Geenens, director for Threat Intelligence at Radware.
“Having a system that can detect and do something about it for you automatically is the only way to win the battle - no human can keep up with the rate Grinch bots will attack. I’d advise every retailer to consider themselves a target. If they don’t they will see high cart abandonment, lower sales, and risk data breaches.”
Aside from the threat of scammers using ‘Grinch-bots’ to target e-commerce sites on Black Friday, Radware says online retailers should also look out for other cyber threats such as hackers stealing personally identifiable information or company sensitive data, using stolen card details to purchase goods, fraudsters adding items to shopping carts and leaving them unpurchased to tie up stock and prevent customers from buying it, and the use of bad bots for illegal competitive price monitoring.
According to Etay Maor, Chief Security Officer at IntSights, aside from making sure their systems are properly secured and prepared for attacks (such as credential stuffing), businesses need to offer consumers additional security features such as opting in for 2FA and alerting on suspicious account activity.
"In addition, organisations must utilise threat intelligence to understand if cybercriminals are targeting them and selling their customer data and credentials, and use it to identifying potential attack vectors used by threat actors."
Digital risk protection firm Skurio has also witnessed a 1085% increase in the registration of Black Friday-related domains this year. Between October and November, the firm saw a total of 320 Black Friday-related domain registrations compared to just 27 domain registrations in 2019.
Cyber security firm Vade Secure also found recently that 9% of Black Friday emails in the US and 15% in Europe were malicious in nature with scammers spoofing global e-commerce brands such as Amazon, Target, Lidl, and Sephora.
"The rise of online shopping and home working has created new vectors for attackers, so security professionals need to guard carefully against new threats as they emerge. The best way to defeat email threats is to use complementary layers of protection involving both tech and humans.
"Seasonal threats of this nature can be predicted and monitored more easily than surprise attacks, so sysadmins should be aware of the surge in Black Friday email exploits," said Adrien Gendre, Chief Product & Services Officer at Vade Secure.