Phishing attacks surge ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Some common email phishing campaigns saw an 80% increase in early November

Some websites have not been designed to operate with a finger press

Security researchers have observed a sharp increase in the number of phishing exploits in the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

According to a new Check Point Software report, phishing emails have increased by over 13 times in the last six weeks. Currently, one in every 826 emails delivered is a phishing attempt, compared to less than one in 11,000 at the start of October.

Researchers at Check Point said ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions that limit shoppers’ access to physical stores is driving the spike in phishing attempts as hackers look to capitalize on the expected record numbers of people shopping online. 

There were 80% more sale- or special-related email phishing campaigns in the first two weeks of November than the weekly average throughout October. These emails used terms like “special,” “offer,” “sale,” “cheap” and “% off.”  And on November 9 and 10 alone, the number of “special offer” phishing campaigns exceeded the whole of the first week of October.

Researchers highlighted one email phishing campaign where threat actors imitated Pandora, the jewelry store. In this campaign, the sender’s email address was from an Amazon domain, but there was no mention of Amazon in the email or its links. Further investigation revealed it was a spoofed Amazon email address.

Related Resource

The State of Email Security 2020

Email security insights at your email perimeter, inside your organisation, and beyond

Email security insights at your email perimeter, inside your organisation, and beyondDownload now

The links within the email initially led to the website www[.]wellpand[.]com, but a few days later, they led to www[.]wpdsale[.]com. These websites were registered at the end of October and beginning of November, right before the hackers sent the phishing emails -- a strong indication of a scam. Further investigation showed both websites were Pandora spoofs. 

Check Point manager of data intelligence Omer Dembinsky said COVID-19 restrictions will inevitably drive more online shopping traffic, fueling hacking efforts.

“Consequently, we expect record-breaking hacker activity targeting online shoppers this upcoming holiday season, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  We’re noticing an unusual and determined focus by hackers on ‘special offers’ this month of November,” he said.

“These phishing campaigns can be extraordinarily deceptive, and online shoppers could easily mistake them for real offers. We’re living in an age where every email in our inboxes must be treated with caution. I strongly urge every online shopper to think twice when looking at a “special offer” from their favorite brand.”

Featured Resources

How virtual desktop infrastructure enables digital transformation

Challenges and benefits of VDI

Free download

The Okta digital trust index

Exploring the human edge of trust

Free download

Optimising workload placement in your hybrid cloud

Deliver increased IT agility with the cloud

Free Download

Modernise endpoint protection and leave your legacy challenges behind

The risk of keeping your legacy endpoint security tools

Download now

Recommended

Russia's "politically motivated" REvil raid could be used as leverage, experts warn
ransomware

Russia's "politically motivated" REvil raid could be used as leverage, experts warn

17 Jan 2022
Meta files lawsuit to uncover hackers targeting Facebook, WhatsApp
phishing

Meta files lawsuit to uncover hackers targeting Facebook, WhatsApp

21 Dec 2021
Five things to consider before choosing an MFA solution
Security

Five things to consider before choosing an MFA solution

17 Dec 2021
Australia and US sign CLOUD Act data-sharing deal to support criminal investigations
cyber crime

Australia and US sign CLOUD Act data-sharing deal to support criminal investigations

16 Dec 2021

Most Popular

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD
Microsoft Windows

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD

4 Jan 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

6 Jan 2022
Microsoft Exchange servers break thanks to 'Y2K22' bug
email delivery

Microsoft Exchange servers break thanks to 'Y2K22' bug

4 Jan 2022