Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and many people are looking forward to spending time with their loved ones and exchanging flowers and gifts. However, cybercriminals are looking to spoil this holiday with different types of cyberthreats.
In this blog post, the IT experts of SpectrumWise have rounded up the common cyberthreats that pop up around Valentine’s Day to help you stay safe online.
Fake Valentine’s Day eCards and gift delivery notifications
On Valentine’s Day, you may receive eCards from friends and family, and even clients and business partners who want to express their gratitude to your team. However, you should be wary of opening these eCards as they could be embedded with malware that may corrupt your data and/or include your computer in a botnet to send more spam. In other cases, you may receive an email instructing you to click on a link to receive a Valentine’s Day eCard, but the link actually leads to a phishing site that can steal personal and financial information.
Another common Valentine’s Day email scam promises gift deliveries. After being told that someone (perhaps a secret admirer) has sent them a gift, the email recipient is tricked into clicking a link to track the package. But in reality, the link will direct the recipient to a malware-laced site.
If you receive such an email, refrain from opening it or clicking any of its links unless you are sure of its authenticity. Investing in an email security solution will help prevent fraudulent emails from reaching your company inbox. This security software uses threat intelligence databases to identify and filter spam and phishing emails.
Cybercriminals often take advantage of major events, such as Valentine’s Day, by spreading malicious ads through popular websites and social media platforms.
In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, you may receive tons of online offers for chocolates, flowers, and jewelry from stores you’re not familiar with. Do not click on those ads, as these may lead you to fraudulent sites that will infect your computer with malware and/or steal sensitive data. This is known as malvertising, wherein malicious code is inserted into online advertisements. Cybercriminals often take advantage of major events, such as Valentine’s Day, by spreading malicious ads through popular websites and social media platforms.
To protect yourself from malvertising, regularly update your anti-malware and ad blocker software. You should also purchase goods only from verified vendors.
Point-of-sale (POS) malware
POS malware attacks compromised or improperly secured payment processing systems used in retail stores. POS malware can steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other sensitive data, which cybercriminals can use to conduct financial and identity theft. It becomes especially prevalent during holidays like Valentine’s Day, as cybercriminals take advantage of busy store owners and staff trying to accommodate last-minute shoppers.
To safeguard your business from POS malware, keep your payment processing systems up to date and properly secured. Implementing a robust anti-malware solution will also help detect and prevent this cyberthreat. Finally, set access restrictions so that only authorized users can access your payment processing systems.
With all the safety protocols in place due to the pandemic, a growing number of people are leveraging dating apps and social networking sites to meet someone virtually. Unfortunately, instead of finding love, people are scammed into giving up their personal information and/or money.
In such scams, cybercriminals use fake profiles on online dating or social media platforms to lure their victims. Afterwards, they develop a relationship with the victim, make up a health problem or family emergency, and ask the victim to send money. The cybercriminal may ask for more money later on or stop responding to messages.
Protect yourself from romance scams by remaining vigilant when meeting people online. Check if the profile of the person you are talking to is on a scammer blacklist. Avoid sharing any personal information like government ID numbers or credit card details, as these can be used for identity theft. If they ask for such information, cut off all communications with them immediately.
Finally, never send money to someone you have not met in person and whose identity you haven’t verified.
Keep your business protected at all times by partnering with SpectrumWise. We have the expertise and solutions to defend you against all kinds of malware and cyberthreats. Schedule a consultation with SpectrumWise today.