E-Commerce Is Exploding — Unfortunately, So Is the Number of Online Hackers Looking to Swindle Shoppers

As holiday shopping sales ticked upward during the most recent season, hackers were taking note.

According to a report released today by RiskIQ, hackers targeted online consumers through both apps and websites in the fourth quarter of 2019, using holiday shopping-related terms in an attempt to draw netizens in.

Bad actors are leveraging growth in online sales to line their own pockets, the authors of the report argue.

“For every dollar that consumers spend shopping online, bad actors are looking to capitalize,” the report reads. “[Hackers] trick users, unknowingly, into downloading malware, using compromised sites, or giving up their login credentials and credit card information.”

During the fourth quarter of 2019, RiskIQ found over 1.8 million blacklisted URLS that contained various holiday terms. The digital threat management company also discovered more than 3,800 blacklisted apps that targeted the branded terms of the top 10 sites that consumers flocked to over Thanksgiving weekend.

RiskIQ identified 2,761 credit card skimmers (thieves who either sell your card information or use it to make fraudulent purchases) online during 2019’s holiday period. Additionally, the firm saw a 1,700% spike in domain infringement across the top 10 e-commerce sites of the holidays as hackers attempted to trick shoppers into clicking on malicious links.

According to MasterCard, holiday retail sales (excluding auto) grew by 3.4% in 2019 over the previous year, with e-commerce sales climbing 18.8% year-over-year. Online sales now make up 14.6% of all holiday sales, MasterCard said. E-commerce has also come to account for a larger portion of sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (15.4% and 24.5%, respectively), the credit card company reported.

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