Email fraud could be the biggest online security fraud this Black Friday - here's how to stay safe

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Cybersecurity firm Proofpoint has warned that American shoppers are at high risk of being victims of email fraud as Black Friday reaches its height, and has laid the blame with the retailers.

In fact, its study found that more than half of the top 50 online retails across the US are not taking appropriate measures to protect their consumers from email fraud and cybercrime.

With email authentication and verification measures hitting headlines recently, the study found that a further 12% had not even implemented a DMARC record.

Retailers put consumers at risk, says report

Proofpoint cites an external study that suggests consumers will spend on average $875 on core holiday items, including gifts, decorations, and food. This year, holiday retail is expected to bring in around $960 billion.

Separately, TechRadar Pro has covered plenty of studies around cybercrime during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, with some studies indicating that attackers spend all year prepping for this season.

The already-hectic weekend is the perfect cover for threat actors to use pressure tactics to rush victims into parting with sensitive information.

Group VP and GM for Sender Security and Authentication at Proofpoint, Robert Holmes, said: “The influx of emails from brands offering great deals during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping period makes it an opportune time for cyber criminals to capitalize on the spike in email traffic and target shoppers with creative and convincing lures and scams.”

In-house research found that one-third of Americans regard familiar branding as sufficient proof that an email is safe.

More than ever, the runup to Christmas is a time to pay close attention to cybersecurity best practices. Proofpoint highlights the need to be aware of imitation sites, dodgy links, and any collection of sensitive data, urging customers to verify before committing to a purchase.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!