Beware Of Potentially Malicious Black Friday Apps

The 2018 Black Friday E-commerce Blacklist, from prepared by RiskIQ, is out so buyers can beware.

RiskIQ, the global leader in digital risk management released its cyber research study analyzing the results of keyword queries of their Global Blacklist and mobile app database for the most trafficked e-commerce brands of the Thanksgiving shopping weekend in the U.S. and U.K.

The results revealed the methods cyberthreat actors could employ this Black Friday shopping season, as well as where they’re targeting malicious efforts.

The report’s findings confirmed that threat actors are using these well-known brands specifically to exploit the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping in both web and mobile:

  • Of Black Friday-specific apps: more than 5 percent of mobile apps out of the 4,331 total that can be found searching “Black Friday” in global app stores is blacklisted as malicious.
  • Threat actors have focused on the top five leading brands in e-commerce. These brands have a combined total of 6,600 blacklisted apps that contain their branded terms in the title or description.
  • The top-10 most trafficked brands averaged over 17 blacklisted apps containing both the branded terms and “Black Friday,” in the title or description, showing clear intent by threat actors to leverage the shopping holiday.
  • RiskIQ has detected an average of 89,837 monthly instances of magecart, the digital credit card-skimmer, between August and October 2018.

The report was released as an exponentially increasing number of consumers embrace the Thanksgiving tradition of hunting for Black Friday bargains online: according to Adobe Digital Index, in 2017, online shoppers filled e-commerce cash registers with more than $19.6 billion in sales over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But ever the opportunists, threat actors set up their operations where the money is, leveraging top e-commerce brands to exploit user traffic looking for Black Friday deals and coupons.

By setting up fake mobile apps and landing pages with fraudulent branding, they fool consumers into downloading unsafe apps and visiting pages that redirect them to other fraudulent or malicious sites. Nearly 40 percent of the massive influx of spending caused by Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2017 took place on mobile devices, making shoppers increasingly at risk of encountering threats in the mobile space.

The source of RiskIQ’s blacklists is through the collection of internet data, which it gathers by scanning, crawling, and passive-sensing the internet—including web pages, mobile apps and stores, and social websites and apps. RiskIQ’s crawling technology covers more than 300 million mobile devices, 1.8 billion HTTP sessions, hundreds of locations across the world, 40 million mobile apps, and 600 million domain records.

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