4 Valentine’s Day cyberthreats and how to protect your business from them

4 Valentine’s Day cyberthreats and how to protect your business from them

Valentine’s Day isn’t just a time for chocolates, flowers, and greeting cards. It’s also a time for cybersecurity awareness, as cybercriminals work extra hard to target people looking for great deals on gifts for loved ones or seeking a new relationship online.

Businesses are also a target of romance-themed cyberattacks, which means you or your employees extra vigilant this season lest you fall victim. Here are the most dangerous Valentine’s day cyberthreats you should be on the lookout for:

1. Fraudulent Valentine’s Day eCards and delivery notifications

It’s nice to receive Valentine’s Day cards. However, be careful when opening eCards as they could contain malware that may corrupt your data and/or make your computer part of a botnet to send more spam.

Other phishing emails may also prompt the recipient to click on a link to receive their eCards but will actually lead to a phishing page that will steal personal and financial information.

Another Valentine’s Day email scam involves a fraudulent gift delivery. The recipient is tricked into making a deposit via credit card in order to receive a package. Once the online form is submitted, the scammer will make unauthorized charges to the victim’s card.

If you receive these types of emails, refrain from opening them unless you are sure of their authenticity.

2. Malvertising

You may also receive offers online for Valentine’s Day gifts such as flowers, jewelry, and chocolates from stores you have never heard of. It’s likely that these websites are fraudulent, and visiting them will infect your computer with malware.

This is known as malvertising, which involves injecting malicious code into advertisements. Once users click an ad, they will be taken to a fraudulent website that will either introduce malware onto the victim’s computer or steal sensitive data.

Defend your business against malvertising attacks by keeping your antivirus programs updated. Once it detects an attack, your antivirus software will immediately block it. Avoid opening potentially malicious emails and links as well, and purchase goods only from verified vendors.

3. Point-of-sale malware

Point-of-sale (POS) malware is specifically designed to steal customer payment card data from retail businesses. It enters through compromised or improperly secured systems and scrapes the random access memory to capture payment card data. The stolen information is then sent to a server from which cybercriminals can access and use it to carry out financial and identity theft.

Comodo Cybersecurity identifies POS malware as one of the greatest Valentine’s Day cyberthreats. To protect from this cyberthreat, patch your operating system regularly, keep your antivirus software updated, and set access restrictions that ensure only authorized users can access critical files

4. Romance scams

Many people use online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, some find scammers who want to steal their information or money. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams in 2019 amounted to $201 million in losses for consumers, or a 40% increase from 2018.

Most romance scams involve cybercriminals creating fraudulent dating profiles from stolen photos and data from real accounts. The scammers will build a relationship with their victims, make up a health issue or family emergency, and ask the victim to send money. The scammer may ask for more money later on or stop responding to messages.

This is why users of dating sites should remain vigilant when meeting people online. More importantly, never send money or personal data that can be used for identity theft. If the other person asks for information such as credit card, bank, or government ID numbers, cut off all contact with them immediately.

No matter the season, your business should always be protected against cyberattacks. Athens Micro will safeguard your company’s most valuable assets so your data stays safe and your staff can work productively without interruptions. To learn more about the types of cybersecurity solutions your business must have, download our FREE eBook today.

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