The run-up to Christmas always sees a rise in cyber crimes such as phishing scams, but in a year when more people than ever are shopping online, scam rates have increased more than usual.
In the US, there was a 440 percent increase in phishing incidents between October and November 2020, and in the UK, up to November, there was an increase of 220 percent, with F5 Labs predicting a 15 per cent yearly increase going forward. Research suggests that cyber criminals are taking advantage of more people relying on the internet to shop, particularly those who may not usually do so and are not as tech-savvy.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is an act committed by criminals wherein they initiate communication that appears to be from reputable companies in the hope that the recipient will divulge personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers.
Usually, the email or other communication appears to be from a company the recipient is likely to use, sometimes by using personal information they have gathered about them. In emails and other online messages, there will often be a link embedded that the recipient is prompted to click, which either infects your device or encourages you to enter personal details, enabling the sender to access these for their own use.
How You Can Protect Yourself and Your Customers
When looking to buy domain names for your business, ensure you go through an established and trusted company such as https://www.names.co.uk/domain-names, which has security measures in place to protect you and your customers from cyber criminals. With SSL certification and an email address that matches your website, your customers can easily check that contact from you is legitimate, giving them peace of mind.
From a consumer point of view, remember that as a general rule, legitimate businesses will not ask for personal details via email. If you are concerned that you are being asked to do this, contact the company directly for advice. Any business that already deals with you will know who you are and will therefore address you by name, not your email address. If an email seems suspicious, check the sender to see if it matches the business claiming to email you, paying close attention to any subtle spelling changes. Remember that if something doesn’t seem right, do not clink on any links or open any attachments.