Big Online Bargains Mean Big Online Threats. Who’s Most at Risk during Black Friday?

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Big Online Bargains Mean Big Online Threats. Who’s Most at Risk during Black Friday?

If you’re an online bargain hunter like me, this upcoming weekend provides an abundance of deals you won’t want to miss out. In fact, this year’s Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day in history, according to Adobe — generating $6.6 billion in expected sales. Between Black Friday, Sofa Sunday, and Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving week means a whole lot of “cyber” shopping. The upcoming holiday season will be the largest online shopping affair yet, with the average consumer expected to spend an average of $1,226 during the holiday shopping season based on the 5,000 US consumers surveyed in Deloitte’s 2017 Holiday Retail Survey.

Could your Black Friday internet shopping put you at risk?

How will we shoppers behave this season?   

Overall, Deloitte forecasts an 18 to 21 percent year-over-year increase in 2017’s holiday e-commerce sales. Last year, online spending between November 2016 and January 2017 was up 14.3 percent from the year before, totaling $93.8 billion. And 51 percent of holiday budgets will be spent online, up four percent from last year, compared to the 42 percent of dollars spent in-store. The survey also shows that 59 percent of survey participants plan to use their smartphones for purchasing holiday items. It’s obvious that online shopping is surpassing the in-store shopping experience from benefits including the ease of searching, but just how secure is the entire online shopping experience?

Buying online is the more convenient alternative but am I safe?

From applications like Amazon to SlickDeals, whenever I shop online, I wonder about my safety – and for good reason. The risks involved range from personal information theft and phishing scams to malware infection through unsecure sites or clicks and downloads from unreliable sources, promising unbelievable deals through email and social media.

On PCs, we are accustomed to using anti-virus protection and therefore assume to be safe when shopping online. On our mobiles, however, most of us typically don’t practice safe browsing. In fact, RiskIQ found that 1 in 25 Black Friday-specific apps are malicious.

But which mobile shoppers will be most at risk during the upcoming Black Friday?

To answer this question, we conducted mobile data research on a random sample of 500,000 mobile users during a 7-day period. We measured e-commerce and shopping activities by demographic and behavioral profiles. We correlated e-commerce and shopping use with demographic profiles (age, gender) as well as behavior profiles (business, digitally hooked users). We then quantified the potential risk for each profile by measuring the percentage of e-commerce and shopping transactions, which appeared to be potentially risky (transactions to sites that have experienced malware infections, phishing, did not employ security, etc.). We identified e-commerce and shopping apps and URLs that were most popular with our user sample and ranked their potential for malware risk. And we correlated safe and risky apps and URLs with each user profile, to find out who is most at risk.

Our findings reveal that:

  • Young generation profiles (aged 25 and under) are the most active on e-commerce and shopping sites, with 2x more activity than the 25-60 age group and 5x more activity than older people above age 60. However, the age group most at risk is 25-60, followed by the younger generations.
  • Females are more at risk than males and are also more active on e-commerce and shopping sites.
  • Business users’ percentage of active users on e-commerce and shopping sites is at least 3x more than that of the digitally hooked profile. The potential risk of these two profiles is high.

Looking at our findings and taking into account that e-commerce and shopping transactions are likely to peak at up to 10x their daily average and that the average Cyber Weekend shopper is likely to be female and over 30 years old, one thing is for sure: this Black Friday Shopping Fever is not only an opportunity for us consumers to get bargains but also for crooks to tap into our the hype to their advantage. I already talked to my mobile service provider about how to protect myself, have you?

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