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Posted August 7, 2013
Students Must Learn a Lesson or Two on Cybersecurity as They Prepare for the 2013-2014 School Year
San Jose, CA – August 7, 2013 – ThreatMetrix™, the fastest-growing provider of integrated cybercrime solutions, today announces several threats that can compromise consumers’ back to school shopping. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) predicts that families will spend a combined total of $45.8 billion on school related supplies this year, with 31.7 percent of those purchases made online where cybercriminals lurk, waiting to take advantage of students and parents alike.
“Cybercriminals follow the money and target consumers heavily during major shopping seasons,” said Mustafa Rassiwala, director, product marketing, ThreatMetrix. “With billions spent online for back to school shopping, fraudsters will only continue stealing money and sensitive information from online purchases. Additionally, the attacks are specifically targeted at a most unsuspecting and vulnerable online population – young adults.”
With increased threats in mind, ThreatMetrix has identified top risks for consumers to look out for this back to school season:
• Phishing – Watch out for suspicious links on social media platforms that typically promote an “unbelievable offer” on a hot item, such as a tablet or smartphone. These links can lead to malicious sites that often mimic popular e-commerce sites like Walmart.com or Target.com and trick consumers into accessing personal accounts, thereby giving criminals free range to personal information.
• Malware – Cybercriminals can install malicious code on the user’s machine without their knowledge. Sophisticated malware automatically tracks keystrokes when a consumer logs into online accounts – effectively and secretly stealing information. Students need to be very cautious when opening email attachments or downloading music and videos from suspicious sites. These are common mass channels used by cybercriminals for distributing malware.
• Man-in-the-Middle Attack – A cybercriminal can covertly intercept a consumer’s online activity on a public Wi-Fi stream. Young adults that tend to shop online for school supplies in public places need to make their purchases from a secure Internet connection.
• Gift Card Fraud – Giving students gift cards, rather than a cash budget, has become a popular choice among parents to control spending. Cybercriminals have caught onto the trend, and have taken a special interest in phishing and eavesdropping on Wi-Fi networks for gift card numbers. As there is no account information tied to the card, criminals can shop and ship without any credit card information tracking back to them. Consumers are advised to shop from secure URLs and limit use on public Wi-Fi networks.
In order to best protect consumers during the back to school shopping season, businesses need a collective approach to cybercrime. This includes extensive screening for suspicious online transactions and leveraging data from a collective global network for real-time threat intelligence, such as the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network. With a global network, businesses can differentiate between suspicious and authentic customers.
“As businesses set cybersecurity measures in place to protect customers, students must also constantly be aware of these threats that await them,” said Rassiwala. “Young, tech savvy adults may feel invincible, but cybercriminals can be sitting next to them at a local coffee shop, waiting to steal personal account information. My advice to these students includes only browse on secure websites, make purchases on a secure internet network and keep computer software up-to-date.”
ThreatMetrix is the fastest-growing provider of integrated web fraud and cybersecurity solutions. The ThreatMetrix Platform helps companies prevent unauthorized access to web and mobile applications, protect sensitive data, and secure transactions against account takeover, payment fraud, identity spoofing, malware, and data breaches. ThreatMetrix protects more than 1,500 customers and 9,000 websites across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government, and insurance. For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.
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