While it makes for bleak reading, the frenzy of sales and online shopping activity surrounding Black Friday, means this pre-holiday season is a key period for cybercriminals. And each year we see an increase in cyberattacks during what should be a feel-good time.

The picture is all-the-more worrying in 2022, as this Black Friday (25th November) falls on the same date as the USA vs England World Cup game – a hotly-anticipated day of betting for bookmakers.

With even more consumers therefore expected to be shopping online this year, the opportunity for fraudulent behaviour is rife. But that doesn’t mean we have to surrender to the risks of poor website security. Here, Georgina Grant Muller, marketing manager at RapidSpike, shares five key tips to help website users stay safe this shopping season…

1. Malvertising
Malvertising (or malicious advertising) is a technique used to gain sensitive information from website users. Often malvertising can spoof popular brands and can even be shown on legitimate advertising platforms. One of the most popular and well-known malvertising campaigns is for Ray-Ban sunglasses, with advertisements on social media, email and text showing imagery of the brand with large discounts. These adverts have malicious code injected into them, and will install malware on the user’s computer or send users to a fake website for them to input sensitive payment information.

While not a bulletproof method, shopping on established websites is advised. If you see an advert on social media and are unsure whether it is legitimate, check by going to the brand’s official social media page and looking for current promotions there. On Facebook this information is found under ‘Page Transparency’, and ‘Go to Ad Library’ – here you can see all the adverts currently running. To avoid spoof websites, enter the website URL directly yourself.

Leeds-headquartered RapidSpike is a renowned website monitoring platform, protecting the three key aspects of website health – performance, reliability and security.