Have you already bought all the Christmas and New Year gifts, and even booked tickets and accommodation? I bet whatever it is that many of you still do not have everything ready and you are going to take advantage of the time that is free for last minute purchases. It is important to stay calm in order to avoid being victims of Christmas phishing campaigns .
In 2014, up to 51% of people in the United Kingdom and Germany bought their gifts online and still many more interacted with sellers through online channels (websites, e-mails, social networks), in order to make a decision, Get discounts or receive information about your purchases. In the United Kingdom, South Africa and Germany, one in two consumers use a smartphone to shop online.
The advance of mobile commerce also attracts hackers: it is very easy to make payments with your smartphone and surely it is also that you hack and steal your banking information. It is a very complex situation due to the lack of security experience that is typical of smartphone users. We know how easy and fast it is to buy apps and other things from our devices, but we are almost illiterate in terms of mobile security. However, in practice, even crime experts can assume the role of victims of a hacker.
As they say, a man is worth two, and one, at least, can reduce the risk of attack. For this reason we have written this analysis of the most popular holiday phishing campaigns and we have also prepared some tips on how to stay protected.
False greeting cards. We all like those Christmas cards so colorful, beautiful and funny, and some even animated. It’s Christmas in its purest form, is not it? Well, it is until a Trojan software appears behind that surreal image. You may receive a message that looks as if it has been sent by a legitimate provider (for example, Hallmark). It will ask you to download an attachment that appears to be safe and reliable. Actually, it is a Trojan that infects your PC and waits for you to use your online banking credentials. Then you will skip a popup suggesting that you verify / update your billing information. If you do, your bank account can be emptied quickly.
Infectious online discounts. In fact almost every letter that seems to be a legitimate promotion and too good to be true, offered by airlines, tour operators and online purchases, could be fraudulent and have malicious software attached. Even a USB that you received as a gift from a store could have a similar surprise.
The price of compassion. Have you received an email asking you to send money to abandoned men and women in nursing homes or to children living in orphanages? Some of these letters can be a fraud. You would be very lucky if these cyber crimes do not empty your bank account after you send them money.
An expensive virutal Santa Claus hat. Players are the usual victims of phishing campaigns. Hackers steal banking credentials, items for games and high-level characters to get fast money. They can do it in many ways. For example, they can send you the Trojan software disguised as a screen saver.
All these methods succeed only when a user gets excited and, therefore, forgets the security rules. So keep calm and pay attention!
Beware of public Wi-Fi. Have you seen this video made by CNN Money ? It clearly shows the ease of hacking, for example, your email and Amazon accounts and discovering your banking credentials when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
If you want to send money. With the aim of obtaining discounts or finding a hotel for vacations (and also in other cases), do not click on suspicious links (fraudulent letters usually have grammatical errors in the web address). Manually enter the address and look for the promotion in which you are interested.
Do not download pirated content. Whether you do it or not, use an antivirus solution and follow its recommendations.