The Importance of Cyber Security this Black Friday

Regardless of where you live in the Western World, Black Friday has become a universally acknowledged calendar date. Originating in the US, the event comes a day after Thanksgiving, and unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

2015 Black Friday shopping

Since coming to fruition in the 1990s, Black Friday has steadily entered the public conscience and become widely adopted in several countries beyond the US. During the event, retailers offer huge discounts, deals and promotions on selected product lines — tempting consumers to part with their cash ahead of the Christmas period.

This daylong discount offering has proved extremely successful, with Black Friday now proven to be the busiest shopping day in the retail calendar. Naturally, this success has enticed smaller retailers to organise their own Black Friday sales, in a bid to capitalise on consumer-demand and claim their share of the pre-Christmas profit.

Sadly, the popularity of Black Friday has proved the event’s downfall in some cases. In 2014, some high-street retailers saw violent outbreaks in their stores following the start of the Black Friday sales — a factor which has prompted several UK retailers to opt out of this year’s event.

While it’s difficult to speculate if Black Friday 2015 will see the same level of commotion as 2014’s event;  Just this week, the world’s leading e-retailer, Amazon, were forced to reset a number of user account passwords for a fear that login details had been compromised as a result of the Black Friday sales — leaving many questioning how retailers can protect the personal data of their customers in the wake of the increased web traffic brought about by Black Friday.

Black Friday online shopping

To reiterate the importance of cyber security during the Black Friday sales, we spoke to security and mobility experts, UKMDM, who suggested that SME’s need to reinforce their customer-facing security infrastructure ahead of Black Friday — particularly for mobile users. They said:

“With an increased volume of incoming web traffic, it’s very easy for a scammer or hacker to exploit a weakness in your security architecture — something which could result in the loss of corporate or consumer data. Before Black Friday comes around, carefully assess your current cyber security measures across all platforms, paying close attention to mobile access points. If it’s necessary, deploy additional protection and carry out any updates to ensure the system is completely up to date.”

As record numbers of consumers are expected to head online this Friday to make the most of the deals, discounts and savings; it’s only natural that online scammers would follow suit in a bid to attain potentially valuable sensitive information from unsuspecting consumers. If you’re concerned about the e-safety of your customers during the Black Friday sales period, don’t be afraid to follow in Amazon’s footsteps and request that customers change their passwords before attempting to make any purchases on your site. Whilst this may prove unpopular at first, it will only serve to strengthen the security of your site at a time in which online consumers are at their most vulnerable to cyber crime.