Keep up those defenses for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

While there are no new cyber attacks expected for Black Friday and Cyber Monday—the two days that mark the onset of the holiday shopping season—one security consultant doesn’t think e-commerce vendors should sit back and relax their security.

“It should really be business as usual,” said Brian O’Higgins, Ottawa-based independent security consultant.

Even with anticipated peaks in online traffic as consumers rush to take advantage of irresistible deals, O’Higgins said vendors should not cut back on security protocols to deal with bottlenecks. “You don’t want them to dismantle security controls if someone thinks there are choke points in traffic … That would be a bad idea,” he said.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday fall on Nov. 26 and Nov. 29, respectively.

O’Higgins said businesses that operate a Web presence and manage online purchases should apply the same security procedures as they would any day of the year despite the holiday rush.

“If your security is running properly it shouldn’t be any different,” said O’Higgins.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have traditionally been U.S. events but in recent years the trend has begun to catch on in Canada. A recent survey by Ipsos Reid, commissioned by PayPal, found that 54 per cent of Canadians plan to do their holiday shopping online this year. That figure jumps to 74 per cent among Canadians 18 to 34 years of age.

The PayPal survey also found that Canadians plan to spend 11 hours holiday shopping. With a portion of that potentially happening online, businesses north of the border are certainly aware of the risk of cyber attack, said Nicky Mezo, head of marketing at PayPal in Canada.

“Those e-commerce vendors that are in Canada, I think there are a lot that are very aware of fraud and are ensuring they have security,” said Mezo.

During the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period, Mezo suggests businesses secure online purchase transactions from cyber criminals hoping to poach personal and financial information.

For instance, PayPal, said Mezo, is used by many Canadian merchants to ensure financial information is not visible to anyone but the buyer.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @Kathleenlau

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