Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity for threat actors to target both consumers and retailers with cyber-related romance scams. Argos’ fake text message is likely only one example of cybercriminals taking advantage of consumers during this peak shopping season to launch large-scale attacks delivered through phishing emails, SMS & malicious malware.
In particular, seasonally themed email lures are not uncommon and have been successfully used for other seasonal events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas. This is because they are a highly effective social engineering strategy used by many cybercriminals to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. Between the love-pun induced marketing campaigns from businesses and these seasonal lures, it is harder for consumers to sift through what is legitimate and what isn’t.
“To avoid financial repercussions, consumers need to be able to make sure they do not lower their guard and that they take the usual precautions of checking sources of an item. Although it’s an exciting time for both retailers and customers, a brand’s cyber defence will be put to the test so they will need to not only monitor and detect any cyber threats, but also have a duty to warn customers if they are a company whose brand has been hijacked,” explains David Grout, CTO EMEA at FireEye.