Smishing Attacks See A Sharp Incline In The Days Leading Up To Black Friday And Cyber Monday

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday almost upon us, smishing attacks have reportedly increased at an alarming rate, being double the amount that were recorded in the same time period last year.

Smishing attacks, for those unaware, are essentially phishing attacks that are conducted via SMS (thus accounting for the s replacing the p in phishing). These are cybersecurity threats that aim to rob a user of their personal information, infiltrating their tech devices under the guise of normal, harmless text messages. They often come accompanied with links to webpages that are fronts for extracting information. A form filled out here, some approval granted there, and before one realizes, they’ve given up personal information all on their own. It’s obviously not their own fault, messages often mimic important alerts from banks or other such pertinent companies in order to trick individuals into providing information. As it turns out, even if the cybercriminals behind smishing attacks aren’t getting smarter, they’re definitely working harder.

Proofpoint, a cybersecurity firm, conducted a study that delves into just how prevalent smishing attacks have become in this time period right before Black Friday and Cyber Monday overwhelm us all. Big deals mean big business, but they also mean a lot of SMS being sent across the country from retailers to literally anyone who’s interesting in discounts and other purchases. Much of this is normal, of course, and many individuals often keep a lookout for deal showing up on their text messages. However, that is exactly the mindset that cybercriminals then take advantage of and attempt to exploit.

Proofpoint’s findings reveal that phishing attacks are presenting themselves in the form of early bird Black Friday deals, sending out links that send users to package deal website. The site, of course, look authentic and completely believable. However, it asks users to fill out information along the lines of credit or debit card details, which is all the damage that needs to be done. 61% of all global companies have been affected by smishing, and 81% of US based companies account for some of those numbers as well. That should help contextualize just how prevalent the threat of phishing attacks is nowadays.

Ultimately, it’s best to take things safe, take up deals on websites that you already know to be reliable and safe, and completely ignore any SMS deals asking users to fill out information.

Read next: Black Friday Deals Might Make You Lose Your Credit Card Information
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