The madness has already started, hasn’t it?
Christmas is in the air and Thanksgiving hasn’t yet reared its familiar, familial head.
Yet retailers are already pestering us with online enticements for things we don’t need and neither do the people for whom we’re buying the gifts.
But this is America. It’s not about need; it’s about excitement.
For online retailers — which is almost everyone these days, surely — the holidays also signify the excitement of increased fraud.
When trade volumes go up, so do attempts at naked theft.
That’s what you’d expect, at least.
Yet I’m currently bathing in a bracing report that suggests online fraud during the holidays isn’t quite what one might imagine.
Riskified — a “payments and fraud-prevention solutions provider,” because “payments and fraud-prevention problems provider” isn’t a good business — took a look at tens of millions of online transactions performed by its clients.
Then it dutifully presented its conclusions in a report enticingly entitled Unwrapping Holiday Fraud.
And peculiar conclusions they are.
First, Riskified insists there’s no such thing as the holiday season. Instead, it identified six distinct seasons within the holiday period.
You’ve missed the first one. It was between Oct. 24 to Oct. 31.
Electronics purchases, for example, show a considerable spike in this period. Then there’s this delightful nugget: “Merchants across all industries can expect to see a revenue spike, up to 30% higher than non-season averages during the last week of October, save for Halloween, when sales are actually slower.”
These shoppers are, apparently, the real planners.
The next little season is Nov. 1 to Nov. 22.
This is a blissful period because it includes China’s Singles Day on Nov. 11, as well as Amazon and eBay’s presales.
A glorious essence from this period, according to Riskified: “Shoppers are spending more at this point in the holiday season than in any other holiday sub-season, especially on physical goods. So, it’s important to note that higher value orders, although sometimes regarded as riskier, are safe and common during this time of the year. Towards the end of this sub-season, as merchants begin to roll out early Cyber Week deals, self-gifters and deal seekers join the mix.”
Cyber Weekend, Nov. 23 to Nov. 27, is the third season. Who are the biggest shoppers? Why, those self-gifters. Perhaps they need psychological bolstering before Thanksgiving.
Then there’s Nov. 28 to Dec. 23. This is what Riskified identifies as Pre-Christmas. It’s all about gift-givers. Says the company: “It’s the holiday sub-season with the lowest rate of international shipping. This, however, doesn’t mean there are fewer international customers: their volume is still about 30% higher than average, they just tend to ‘get lost’ amongst the huge influx of domestic shoppers.”
The more I read, the more I found myself learning a lot about humanity.
Season number 5 is Dec. 24 to Dec. 25. These are the panicked buyers who know they must buy digital goods, such as digital gift cards, those especially thoughtful gifts.
Finally, there’s Dec. 26 to Dec. 31. This is the time where everyone is looking for a bargain because everyone knows retailers are trying to get rid of inventory.
Which leads us to the other delightful aspect of humanity: Fraud.
Here’s one sentence from the report that rendered me oddly twitchy. Referred to the six seasons as a whole, Riskified concluded: “The rate of fraud attempts remains on par with non-season averages, but the increased volume of sales means there’s an increase in the volume of fraud attempts, as well.”
In essence, then, all these holiday mini-seasons don’t seem to attract fraudsters in unusual numbers.
Riskified suggests retailers should consider that a higher volume of international orders in the earlier periods don’t necessarily suggest a higher rate of fraud either. They’re just people who have friends and relatives in other countries.
Moreover, in the Nov. 1 to Nov. 22 period shoppers are spending more. Says the report: “It’s important to note that higher value orders, although sometimes regarded as riskier, are safe and common during this time of the year.”
So when do the fraudsters really weigh in? Other than all the time, that is.
It seems the rate of online shopping fraud attempts is highest in the tiny window of Dec. 24 to Dec. 25. This is principally, says Riskified, because the volume of legitimate shoppers has shrunk. Yes, the fraudsters don’t take days off. Not even for Christmas.
Their methods, though, are fascinating. Psychologically, that is: “Amongst these legitimate customers hide the fraudsters who focus on phone and chat orders — any order method that requires human assistance, as fraudsters know that customer service teams are exhausted so late in the holiday season.”
They pounce on the tired and huddled online customer service people who just want it all to stop.
The report does add that digital goods fraud is highest in the Dec. 26 to Dec. 31 period. Could this be because the fraudsters are so busy doing their jobs that they’ve forgotten to get their loved ones’ gifts?
But what, I hear you cry, about mobile apps? Aren’t they trouble?
Not so much, according to this report. At least, not so much during the holidays: “Mobile apps, a relatively riskier segment throughout most of the year, prove to be very popular with legitimate shoppers during the holiday season. Throughout all sub-seasons, mobile app orders typically experience 70% fewer fraud attempts than the non-season average, putting them on par with desktop orders.”
Though this report has some oddly reassuring conclusions, I’m still suspicious. It’s as well to be careful out there if you’re an online retailer and extra-careful at this time of year.
For many retailers, this period signifies a major element of their revenue.
If you’re a retailer, you don’t want to mess up that revenue. You’ve got your own gifts to buy and people always expect you to get them something nice.
After all, you’re a retailer. You get a discount, right?
Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise
This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.
Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.
In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.
CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions
Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.
Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.
“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”
As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.
Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.
“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.
So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:
“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”
Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.
“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”
Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast
Phish Fight: Securing Enterprise Communications
Yes, much of the world may have moved on from email to social media and culturally dubious TikTok dances, yet traditional electronic mail remains a foundation of business communication. And sadly, it remains a prime vector for malware, data leakage, and phishing attacks that can undermine enterprise protections. It doesn’t have to be that way.
In a just released report titled “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” GigaOm Analyst Simon Gibson surveyed more than a dozen enterprise-focused email security solutions. He found a range of approaches to securing communications that often can be fitted together to provide critical, defense-in-depth protection against even determined attackers.
Figure 1. GigaOm Radar for Email Phishing Prevention and Detection
“When evaluating these vendors and their solutions, it is important to consider your own business and workflow,” Gibson writes in the report, stressing the need to deploy solutions that best address your organization’s business workflow and email traffic. “For some it may be preferable to settle on one comprehensive solution, while for others building a best-of-breed architecture from multiple vendors may be preferable.”
In a field of competent solutions, Gibson found that Forcepoint, purchased recently by Raytheon, stood apart thanks to the layered protections provided by its Advanced Classification Engine. Area 1 and Zimperium, meanwhile, are both leaders that exhibit significant momentum, with Area 1 boosted by its recent solution partnership with Virtru, and Zimperium excelling in its deep commitment to mobile message security.
A mobile focus is timely, Gibson says in a video interview for GigaOm. He says companies are “tuning the spigot on” and enabling unprecedented access and reliance on mobile devices, which is creating an urgent need to get ahead of threats.
Gibson’s conclusion in the report? He singles out three things: Defense in depth, awareness of existing patterns and infrastructure, and a healthy respect for the “human factor” that can make security so hard to lock down.
OPPO X 2021 rollable phone details revealed at MWC Shanghai
While the fate of the LG Rollable is still undecided, OPPO’s own take on the rather exotic phone form factor...
Old Google Pay in the US will become useless in April
It isn’t exactly out of the ordinary that Google retires an app or service in favor of a new one....
Samsung Exynos with AMD Radeon GPU could come in a laptop first
Although Qualcomm and, to some extent, Rockchip, have long been on some laptops running Windows and Chrome OS, respectively, the...
Thousands of stands with built-in USB ports recalled over shock risk
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has highlighted a recent recall involving side stands (accent tables) that feature built-in charging...
2022 Land Rover Defender V8 brings 518hp to SUV icon
Land Rover has revealed its new 2022 Defender V8, adding a much-requested engine upgrade for the SUV, along with new...
Social1 year ago
CrashPlan for Small Business Review
Gadgets2 years ago
A fictional Facebook Portal videochat with Mark Zuckerberg – TechCrunch
Mobile2 years ago
Memory raises $5M to bring AI to time tracking – TechCrunch
Social2 years ago
iPhone XS priciest yet in South Korea
Cars2 years ago
What’s the best cloud storage for you?
Security2 years ago
Google latest cloud to be Australian government certified
Social2 years ago
Apple’s new iPad Pro aims to keep enterprise momentum
Cars2 years ago
Some internet outages predicted for the coming month as ‘768k Day’ approaches