Technology

Festival season online shopping creates perfect storm for cybercrime, McAfee says

Festival season online shopping creates perfect storm for cybercrime.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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As the pandemic forced people to shift their activities online, cybercriminals are taking advantage of Indian consumers relying on digital shopping during the festival season, according to cybersecurity firm McAfee.

In its study titled ‘2020 holiday season: state of today’s digital e-Shopper’, the cybersecurity firm found 68% of Indian consumers saw an increase in their online shopping activity this year. They have shifted direction due to global events this year, which has exposed them to more online threats.

Over half the consumers McAfee India surveyed agree that cyber scams are more prevalent during the holiday season, and yet 42% of them said they are planning to shop online.

The situation is worrisome as most consumers do not have adequate safety measures in place, with only 27.5% Indians equipped with online security solutions.

According to the survey, $4.1 billion e-commerce sales transactions were recorded in the first week of 2020 after the festive season, as compared to $2.7 billion in 2019. In addition to this, close to one in three Indian consumers shop online 3-5 days a week, and 15.7% shop every day.

McAfee found that there were 419 threats per minute in Q2 2020, an increase of almost 12% over the previous quarter.

With the activity set to rise from both consumers and cybercriminals, there is an added concern whether consumers are taking security threats seriously enough.

This comes after the survey found 32% of consumers had no plans to change their shopping habits despite being aware of the security threats.

This less-than-cautious approach aggravates when respondents are offered deals or discounts, with only 24% of respondents checking if festive sales deals sent via email or text emails are authentic and trustworthy.

“In a bid to avail the best holiday deals and discounts, consumers open themselves up to risks on malicious websites, falling prey to phishing attacks through spam mails that are weaponised,” Venkat Krishnapur, VP, Engineering and Managing Director at McAfee India said.

“Often, they carelessly give away personal information online that is then misused by cybercriminals for their nefarious gains.”

He suggested that it is crucial that users stay mindful of potential risks and undertake necessary steps to protect themselves and their families this holiday season.

The survey was conducted with 1000 adults over the age of 18 in India between October 9-19, 2020

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 5:39:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/festival-season-online-shopping-creates-perfect-storm-for-cybercrime-mcafee-says/article33116180.ece

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