The current coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the closure of many pubs, restaurants and brick and mortar retail stores. Many purchases that were previously made in person are now online. In a study commissioned by Visa, 89% of Britons have shopped online since the UK’s lockdown restrictions began, and 31% bought items online for the first time during that period. Criminal groups are benefiting from this surge in online shopping activity: Smaller businesses that are newly reliant on online transactions offer attackers a stream of under-defended shopping sites to exploit, and shoppers are more likely to end up in these compromised businesses or to counterfeit business compared to before the pandemic.
Counterfeit stores are another threat. Shoppers looking for bargains may unknowingly find themselves in a fake shop that claims to be selling the products they want at a heavily discounted price. However, the victim only receives counterfeit goods, no goods at all, or the transaction is aborted after entering the credentials, equivalent to a phishing attack.
Visiting a fake shop without the Netcraft extension
Visiting a fake shop with the Netcraft extension
Additionally, the Netcraft browser extension blocks shopping sites that are using resources known to be part of the skimming infrastructure – even if Netcraft has not blocked the shop. Whenever the extension detects that a request is being sent to a URL associated with skimming activity, it blocks the request and reports the shopping page at risk to us.
This allows Netcraft to automatically receive a steady stream of new compromised shopping sites as the extension user community makes a purchase. The relationship between Netcraft and our community of browser extension users is symbiotic: when our users shop, we protect them from skimmers and use the vulnerable shopping site information they find to automatically protect the rest of the community. Users can opt out of reporting these websites to Netcraft if they prefer.
The Netcraft browser extension is free to download on Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Edge.
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