Cyber Security

Cyber Security when Online Shopping: How to stay safe this Black Friday

As the festive season approaches, the excitement of finding the perfect gifts is coupled with the growing threat of online scams. Recent data reveals that over 7 in 10 British individuals worry about the increased risk of AI-driven scams during this year’s festive shopping period. With shoppers losing over £10 million to cyber criminals last year, it’s crucial to be vigilant.

How AI in Online Scams threatens Cyber Security

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is urging Black Friday shoppers to be on high alert, as cyber criminals are anticipated to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the sophistication of their scams. AI technology, including large language models, can be used to create convincing scam emails, fake advertisements, and bogus websites, making it more challenging for consumers to identify potential threats.

Recognizing and Combatting Scams when Online Shopping

In response to the evolving landscape of online fraud, the NCSC recommends that shoppers be wary of certain indicators:

Urgency: Be cautious if you’re pressured to respond or make payment quickly; criminals often use time constraints to exploit victims.

Scarcity: If a message promises something in short supply, exercise caution to avoid falling for the fear of missing out.

Current Events: Cyber criminals often capitalize on current news or seasonal events, such as Black Friday, to make their scams appear more relevant.

While AI-generated scams may be more polished, basic security measures remain crucial. The NCSC emphasizes the importance of implementing 2-step verification (2SV) and using strong passwords composed of three random words.

Other measures you can take include checking the validity of the websites and apps you shop on, by checking SSL certificates, and for tell-tale signs of fake retailers such as stolen images or frequent misspellings of products and descriptions. It is always better to shop with well-known retailers than take a risk.

Taking Action to Stay Secure Online

Felicity Oswald, NCSC Chief Operating Officer, advises shoppers to follow the steps outlined in their online shopping guidance, emphasizing the significance of setting up 2-step verification and using robust passwords. The goal is to make it more challenging for cyber criminals to access personal information.

Anthony Browne, Anti-Fraud Champion, encourages individuals to take proactive steps to protect themselves, emphasizing the impact of collective efforts. With one in 17 adults falling victim to fraud in the past year, adopting the guidance provided by the NCSC’s Cyber Aware campaign is vital.

The Urgency of Cyber Security Education

As cyber threats continue to evolve in online retail, it’s crucial to stay informed and educated about online security, and for businesses to increase measures that protect their data and systems, especially during periods such as Black Friday. We at iMeta offer free professional cyber security courses, that are designed for individuals interested in a career in cyber security, with the aim of creating more cyber security professionals that more and more businesses are looking to hire. By signing up for our courses, students gain valuable insights and skills to navigate the digital landscape securely and become qualified to work within the cyber security field.

Stay Informed, Stay Secure

The recent surge in online scams calls for increased vigilance among consumers. By staying informed about potential threats, following the NCSC’s guidelines, and investing in cyber security education, you can safeguard yourself and contribute to a more secure online environment. If you’re curious about how cyber security works, sign up for more information about our cyber security courses today and empower yourself to navigate the digital world with confidence. Your online safety starts with knowledge and awareness, and you could develop a career to help others stay safe online.



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