People shopping online on Black Friday could be targeted as easy pickings for cyber-crime, according to the UK's cyber-security defence agency.
The National Cyber Security Centre, part of the UK Government’s intelligence service, issued advice to shoppers on the risk of ‘malicious’ online threats.
The agency's chief executive, Ciaran Martin, recently told a meeting of business leaders of a ‘serious and sustained’ threat, including from ‘elite hackers’ in different countries, adding that large-scale criminal cyber-activity was ubiquitous.
This could include the theft of millions from retailers and attacks on financial networks on which shops depend, he said.
Mr Martin said a data breach had an average cost of £3m (€3.38m). The WannaCry cyber-attack last year is estimated to have cost the United States £3.5bn (€3.94), while the devastating NotPetya cyber-attack, had cost one firm up to £250m (€282.68), including the cost of replacement IT equipment.
Some of the National Cyber Security Centre's advice to reduce the risk of cyber-crime include:
Installing the latest software and app updates
Choosing strong passwords for different accounts
Avoiding clicking through links in emails
Only filling out mandatory fields on websites
Keeping an eye on bank accounts for unrecognised payments
Contacting your bank immediately if something looks suspicious
Making sure any and all of your home gadgets are secure