Those were the days when Black Friday was just a one-day shopping bonanza after the American Thanksgiving, on the fourth Thursday of November. Next, Cyber Monday was added, cumulating in a shopping festival of at least 4 days, to be spread around the world. Such a joy… especially for cyber criminals.
For those who love statistics. Leading the planned spend in Europe per person during Black Friday is the UK, with an average spend of €346 per person in 2018, followed by Ireland with €300 and Austrians with an expected spend of €234. In the US, Cyber Monday broke sales records last year, with $7.9 billion spent by the end of the day, just online! The average amount spent per American hovers around the $400 mark.
Black Friday is steadily gaining popularity amongst Australian shoppers as well, and many other countries are latching on. Mexico, Canada, Japan, Brazil, the UAE, India and Singapore all adopted Black Friday in the last three to four years. China has its own version called Singles Day, on the 11th of November, which surpasses $20 billion in sales.
While stereotypes (such as the feature image of this article) might have you thinking that women are more likely than men to shop ’til they drop, in most countries, it’s actually mostly men who hunt for Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains.
A Feast for Cyber Criminals
These days the Black Friday to Cyber Monday shopping spree is a major concern for security-conscious businesses and consumers alike. Criminals follow the money and, in this case, it’s not hard for them to keep track.
So what do you need to look out for? Here are some basic tips.
As a Consumer
- Install the latest software, patches and app updates. They are important to your digital safety and cyber security, and help protect your data.
- Cyber Monday is not called “Click Frenzy”’ for nothing in Australia. Be aware of what you click on. Type in the shops’ URL into your browser window yourself, instead of clicking through from a link you’ve received or a feed that popped up in Facebook or the like.
- Be aware of online scams and phishing emails (including the ones about deliveries after you buy!). Bargains are out there, but if it really sounds too good to be true, your “deal of a lifetime” is likely to turn out to be a post-Christmas headache.
- Be as anonymous as possible. Shop as a guest, avoid over-sharing and use a VPN for extra privacy. Choose unique and strong passwords for all of your accounts.
- Don’t store your credit card details. Keep an eye on your bank accounts for a couple of days after the event and look out for unrecognised payments.
- Make sure all your home gadgets are secure. This may include your smart speaker and even your doorbell as we learned that Ring doorbells left user’s Wi-Fi passwords exposed.
As an Online Business
- Understand common cyber threats in your line of business and how to prevent them. This may involve security awareness training, authorised access and separating your infrastructures…
- Be compliant with applicable privacy regulations, such as the GDPR or CCPA. Keep client data safe and ensure a safe shopping experience. And encrypt, encrypt and encrypt. Personal data breaches are one of the most common types of cybercrime.
- Update your technologies and move on from using passwords only authentication. Simple and seamless two-factor authentication is now the new norm.
- Regularly test and monitor your business’ cyber security measures. Consider outsourcing to a Managed Security Service Provider if you don’t have the in-house capacity to keep an eye on this and fix vulnerabilities immediately if and when they occur.
Did You Know?
According to History Channel, the first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” had nothing to do with shopping but referred to the day the U.S. gold market crashed, on Friday September 24, 1869. In this version of the story “Black Friday” marks the day when stores became profitable again and their sales figures finally went in to the black.
You’ll find plenty of deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but don’t automatically assume everything is at its lowest price. Keep an eye on the things you want to buy beforehand and do your research. Looking for the best Black Friday VPN Deals and Discounts? We compared 10!