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Skip Black Friday for a Safer Shopping Day: Gray Saturday

Annual sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer incredible savings opportunities for consumers, but according to Kaspersky Lab these are also peak days for financial phishing attacks. Kaspersky Lab’s annual review of phishing attacks during the holiday sales season found that consumers are significantly safer on Gray Saturday, when the number of such attacks can decrease by as much as 33%, despite it being a top shopping day.

With US consumers expected to spend an average of $967.13 during the holiday season this year, cyber-criminals will be looking for ways to divert some of that money into their own wallets. Impersonating a retail brand through phishing attacks is one way that cyber-criminals can effectively target consumers during the holiday shopping season. Traditionally distributed by email, phishing attacks can also lure consumers through web links, ad banners, social media and more. These attacks aim to persuade people to provide their personal financial data, such as bank account information, credit card details or account passwords, under the assumption that they are dealing with the actual, reputable brand.

The day after Black Friday represents a rare moment of respite from cyber-criminals in an increasingly busy holiday shopping season. Kaspersky Lab research found evidence of a dip in financial phishing attacks on Gray Saturday in both 2015 and 2016. In 2016, there was a decline of 33% in the number of attacks mimicking popular online retail and payment brands on this day (from around 770,000 to 510,000 detections), despite it being the second biggest shopping day of the holiday season.

“The rise in people using online payments, banking and shopping means that financial phishing attacks are now consistently high all year round, but the holiday season makes it so much easier to hide in the noise,” said Nadezhda Demidova, lead web-content analyst, Kaspersky Lab. “At this time of year, marketing and advertising levels go through the roof, and with consumers increasingly making their transactions on mobile devices—often while out and about and in a hurry—almost everyone is more exposed and has less time to think and check. On Gray Saturday, we have seen the number of phishing attacks drop significantly. Weekends generally see lower numbers of attacks and fewer people online, but on this big shopping day that’s an extra advantage. We expect this trend from 2016 to continue in 2017, so if you plan on shopping online these holidays, choose the day wisely.”

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