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Online credit card theft

Israeli cyber security experts report criminals are already raking in the holiday time profits with Illegal credit card use soaring 110 percent in November.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

An Israeli cyber security company says cyber criminals are having a great time during the pre-holiday coronavirus lockdown, using it as an opportunity to accelerate their fraud efforts.

Cyberint is based in Petah Tikvah, just east of Tel Aviv, with offices around the world . Its expertise is in “Digital Risk Protection,” especially tracking the illegal use of credit cards, which the company reported was up 110 percent during the first week of November alone.

This holiday season includes classic “shopping holidays” like Singles Day in China (Nov. 11, very popular with Israeli shoppers), Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), Cyber Monday (the Monday after Black Friday), and New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31.

“The correlation is clear and indicates threat actors are preparing for the season with increased fraud and cyberthreat activity, taking advantage of retailer discounts, higher sales volume, and often fraud controls that are relaxed to improve buyer experience,” Cyberint said in a special report.

The company says their team of experts has observed an even larger rise in threat actor activity targeting retailers this year. They attribute it to increased online purchasing in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and studies showing U.S. and U.K. consumers are buying a lot more online, with 44% more shoppers than last year planning to shop online this holiday season.

“While online shopping has seen significant growth over the years, most purchases during this holiday season will be via e-commerce due to the pandemic,” said Yochai Corem, CEO of Cyberint. “Cyber criminals are already happily used to working remotely and are now using this to their advantage. This year demands e-commerce retailers heighten their vigilance.”

Theft, Fraud and Card-jacking

Cyberint reports that some of the latest trends show that the number of stolen credit card user credentials for sale by criminals increased by 186%. Also, the number of fake credit cards and payment methods for sale was up by a whopping 290% in just that one week in November.

Threats are expected to intensify in the period leading up to December 25, creating a season full of brand hijacking, phishing, fake payment methods, and stolen user credentials.

Recently, a customer of a national clothing retailer clicked on a fake website that mimicked the brand, requesting that she fill out a survey to receive vouchers. The unsuspecting customer answered the questions and was bombarded with spam, texts, and calls. The retailer was only made aware of the issue after she called to complain.

Cyber criminals are not only trying to buy goods online, they are also expected to seek fraudulent refunds well into January 2021.

Corem says retail organizations should expect an increase in fraud targeting their customers during the 2020 shopping season. He encouraged retailers to take a proactive approach to their cyber focus.

In a downloadable report on the Cyberint website, Corem shared some insider technical tips for what retailers can do to to improve their cyber security.

Corem also strongly recommends that companies selling online partner with an experienced cybersecurity provider so they can get the protection they need and concentrate their efforts on selling.



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