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A darker Black Friday

Phishing reached records high on Black Friday 2017. Image Source: wk1003mike via Shutterstock

Yesterday in many parts of the world it was “the Black Friday” with appealing sales of thousands of products. I guess parts of those products were not really good deals, just a convenient way to get rid of difficult to sell merchandise (particularly considering the short life cycle/shelf time of electronic goods. On the other hand if you are not a fanatic for the very latest … yesterday novelty may be perfect at today’s price).

Already in 2016 in the US  most buyers did their shopping on line, rather than queueing up in stores. And the bad guys took notice.

I am still waiting for the latest reports, however many indicators point to a new record high in phishing. Last year, according to Kaspersky Lab report, saw some 770,000 financial phishing attacks (attacks trying to steal your credit card number or bank account number), representing over 48% of total phishing attacks.

This year RiskIQ discovered in the Black Friday week 19,219 URLs (web pages) with the words “Black Friday” waiting for your click to take you to a phishing website. There you would be presented with a bogus website pretending to be one of a reputable store that would sell you low grade merchandise and/or stole your credit card data.

In one instance the bad guys used SEO poisoning -Search Engine poisoning- steering Google to place on top of its search results a malicious address -it was www.rb6.us – DONT CLICK ON IT. Searching for “RayBan Black Friday” returned as first hit a link to a bogus RayBan website where one would be tricked into providing one’s information. You can see other techniques used  here.

I’ll be reporting on the actual phishing statistics for this 2017 Black Friday as soon as they become available.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.