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Monday, 12 October 2020 18:29

Check Point warns Amazon Prime Day shoppers to be vigilant

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Check Point warns Amazon Prime Day shoppers to be vigilant Image by Toshiei Uchiyama from Pixabay

The number of malicious domains which are similar to that of retail giant Amazon has risen by 28% in the run-up to the firm's Prime Day on 13 October, the Israeli security firm Check Point has warned.

The company said in a statement that its researchers had analysed threats related to Prime Day and found that the registration of domains with the words "Amazon" and "Prime" had doubled with the last 30 days, and a fifth of these were malicious.

It said there were a total of 150 million Amazon Prime members across 19 countries, including Australia, and they needed to be on their guard when taking advantage of offers that were made during Prime Day which runs for 48 hours over 13 and 14 October.

"Hackers register domains similar to the brands consumers trust, in order to lure online shoppers into revealing their personal data, such as credit card information, names, birthday, email and physical addresses, and other details often exchanged in an online purchase," the company said.

"The attack method falls into the category of what is known as a phishing attack. These occur when a hacker, masquerading as a trusted entity, dupes a victim into opening an email, instant message or text message. Recipients are then tricked into clicking a malicious link, which can result in installation of malware, ransomware attacks or the extraction of sensitive information."

Check Point data threat researcher Omer Dembinsky said: "We’re sounding the alarm bells, as we’re seeing unusually high surges of malicious domains attempting to imitate the e-commerce giant at this time.

"Before Amazon Prime Day, create a strong password, don’t overshare personal details on your profile, and watch for any misspelling of Amazon.com as you shop from page to page.

"On Amazon Prime Day, triple check if you are actually on Amazon.com. One thing is clear: as consumers gear up for Prime Day, so are hackers. One wrong click can lead to all your personal information getting out there.”

The company offered would-be shoppers the following hints:

"Watch for misspellings of Amazon.com. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain other than Amazon.com. For example, a .co instead of .com. Deals on these copy-cat sites may look just as attractive, but this is how hackers fool consumers into giving up their data.

"Look for the lock. Avoid buying something online using your payment details from a website that does not have secure sockets layer encryption installed. To know if the site has SSL, look for the “S” in HTTPS, instead of HTTP. An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically to the left of the URL in the address bar or the status bar down below. No lock is a major red flag.

"Share the bare minimum. No online shopping retailer needs your birthday or social security number to do business. The more hackers know, the more they can hijack your identity. Always maintain the discipline of sharing the bare minimum when it comes to your personal information.

"Before Prime Day, create a strong password for Amazon.com. Once a hacker is inside your account, it is game over. Make sure your password for Amazon.com is uncrackable, well before 14 October.

"Don’t go public. If you find yourself at an airport, a hotel or your local coffee shop, please refrain from using their public Wi-Fi to shop on Amazon Prime Day. Hackers can intercept what you are looking at on the web. This can include emails, payment details, browsing history or passwords.

"Beware of 'too good to be true' bargains. This will be tough to do, as Prime Day is filled with great offers. But, if it seems WAY too good to be true, it probably is. Go with your gut: an 80% discount on the new iPad is usually not a reliable or trustworthy purchase opportunity.

"Stick to credit cards. During Prime Day, it’s best to stick to your credit card. Because debit cards are linked to our bank accounts, we’re at much higher risk if someone is able to hack our information. If a card number gets stolen, credit cards offer more protection and less liability."


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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