The holiday season is approaching, and it’s a time that is often associated with many cybercrime cases. You don’t have to purchase goods online to be a victim of these crimes as they happen in many ways these days. One thing that can make it difficult to avoid cybercrimes is the lack of knowledge about how they happen. In this article, we look at the different cybercrimes that mostly occur during the holiday season. That way, you can avoid them easily and efficiently. So, keep reading to find out more.
DDoS attacks are among the most common crimes during the holiday season. One thing that fraudsters might use to steal from you is the Mirai botnet. The Mirai botnet is a malware that can be used to launch lots of DDoS attacks. Attackers use DDoS attacks to disable retail operations when they are at their busiest moments, then try to extort money from them.
These attacks can be used to hack any website, from big to small organizations. The motive of these attacks is mostly financial gain, but it can also be revenge. So, someone can pay a hacker to take your site down and sabotage your business or ask for money to restore the site. The best things you can do to avoid being a victim of DDoS attacks is to buy more bandwidth and configure your website network against these attacks.
During the holiday season, most cybercriminals love exploiting the huge number of transactions being made. They do that by targeting POS (point of sale devices) like payment terminals and card readers. When a POS malware is used successfully, it helps the attacker to obtain vital information like your debit and credit card information, CVV code, and track 1 or 2 data. The attacker does that using man-in-the-middle attacks (intercepting the retail check out processing point of a sale system).
The simplest and probably the most indirect approach of using POS malware is the RAM scraping. Ram scraping refers to accessing a system’s memory and exporting some of the information to another location, leaving no evidence of the crime.
People make many transactions using ATMs. However, doing so can be risky, especially during the holidays. In skimming, an attacker uses a special device to capture a card’s information and then uses it to execute fraudulent transactions.
These devices have some cameras that enable the thief to capture most of your information, including the pin. That way, if the person finds a way to steal your card, they can withdraw your money easily. Also, an attacker can use the card information to fake identity and have your card blocked. That way, they can get another card from the bank with a different pin and access your money easily.
To avoid losing money through skimming, always stay alert when paying for goods or services with your card. That way, you can notice when someone is trying to swipe the card from different machines and take action.
Malvertising is a fake form of advertising where attackers use legit offers to infect your computer with viruses. Clicking on an infected advert takes you to the actual offers that a legit company is offering, but automatically downloads malware into your computer. That way, your device becomes vulnerable to many attacks.
Most promotional offers, banners, and pop-ups that are usually pushed through social media feeds are often used by attackers to inject their malware. Avoid malvertising attacks by tightening up security features in your laptop, desktop, or smartphone. Do that by ensuring that all your web browsers, applications, and operating systems are updated. Using outdated versions of these applications makes a device more vulnerable to malware.
Compromising E-Commerce Sites
Hackers have been using this method a lot since 2016 by infecting some e-commerce sites with unique key loggers. These keyloggers are purposely meant to collect credit card data that people enter when buying goods or services from e-commerce sites. That way, they can easily get your pin and other crucial information and use it to make other fraudulent transactions with your money.
Many social scams are happening right now. Most of them occur in the form of free money phone calls or emails, billing issues, fake shipping confirmations, compromised bank accounts, and many more. Giving vital information during such times provides attackers a chance to steal from you or use the information in other illegal activities.
Therefore, always be cautious and diligent when you receive calls from people asking about your financial accounts. Replying to strange emails and even calling the provided numbers in the email can also expose your computer to dangerous malware. The best way to determine whether the calls and emails are legit is to check your bank’s official website. If the number you received a call from is not in the contacts information, then the chances are that he/she is a con.
Ransomware is a destructive malware that prevents one from using the files on a corporate network or computer. Experiencing such can be tricky, especially if you use the laptop for official purposes and it has crucial files and information. When attackers manage to infect a computer with certain ransomware, they will demand that you pay a certain amount of money by promising to take the malware off your device.
The two most common ransomware attacks that hackers use these days are CryptoLocker and Cryptowall. The most recent extortion that involved the use of ransomware totaled up to $325 million, which is an incredibly huge amount.
Most ransomware attacks are done through infected web links, illegal search links, smartphone texts, download sites, and shared online files. To avoid getting ransomware attacks, always avoid installing any software without doing some research first and being sure that it’s legit and safe. Also, let your IT professionals check the safety of the software before installing. That way, you can easily and efficiently avoid getting ransomware attacks.
Another cybercrime that is very easy to fall for is the use of phishing pages. When the holidays are nearing, cybercriminals create fake websites that look almost the same as those of online stores. They mostly develop fake sites for stores offering attractive offers on their goods and services. So, when you fall for their trap and use their counterfeit sites instead, they take your card details and use them to steal from your bank account.
Attackers can also use these phishing pages to infect devices with malware that can corrupt all the crucial files the victims had on their computers. Most phishing pages are advertised with emails trying to get you to a fake page offering holiday season offers.
PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) are another type of malware. The only difference is that they are more annoying and less harmful compared to others. They often install many unwanted software on your computer. Some of the programs that these programs install in devices include toolbars and search agents. PUPs can be in the form of dialers, adware, and spyware. A perfect example of PUPs that was very common in 2013 and that you might have heard about is Bitcoin miner.
Use of Remote Administration Tools
Remote Administration Tools were solely created to help people offer remote support easily. However, cybercriminals are now using these tools to spy on other people. Some of them use these tools to control how their victims’ computers behave. Experiencing such can be dangerous as the person can get access to most of your crucial files, including all online passwords.
Here are the things that a cybercriminal can do when spying on you using remote administration tools:
- Watch whatever is displayed on your compute
- Control your computer with shell commands
- Send the location of your device to a remote controlling device
- Transfer files and data from the computer
- Capture images when any motion is detected near the computer
However, these are not the only things that a cybercriminal can do when spying on you using remote administration tools, but they are the major ones. So, what can you do to stay safe from being spied on with these tools? Take the following precautions:
- Be extra careful when opening emails from strangers, especially when the messages contain some links or attachments.
- Make sure your computer and online accounts have very strong passwords.
- Ensure your computer has high-quality anti-malware software. That way, you can detect any malware on the computer including the activity of remote administration tools.
- Do not allow any remote assistance connections if you don’t use RATS.
- Use an updated operating system.
When the holiday season is starting, many hackers will take advantage of that to extort money from unsuspecting people. These are the major cybercrimes that you should look out for. Understand how they work to enable you to stay safe during this holiday season. Also, use highly effective VPNs to help you stay safe online when browsing and buying goods online. A VPN also protects email accounts, and more importantly, keeps your online activities safe and secure.