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New Cybercriminal Threat Faces Online Shoppers

22 February 2019 - 10:00 by Mike Price

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The strategies used by web-based fraudsters to trick innocent consumers out of their private information and hard-earned cash are always changing, with malicious gangs having to adapt and evolve to overcome new security barriers.

The latest threat to emerge from the seedy underbelly of the internet is known as formjacking, with experts at Symantec identifying this as a problem which could soon rival phishing emails and ransomware in terms of its prevalence.

Fortune reports that formjacking is effectively a digital equivalent of real-world cash machines being augmented with illegal hardware used to steal payment card information from unknowing users. Hackers target genuine websites and harness code to siphon off transaction details without users being aware.

Thousands of e-commerce sites are falling victim to this type of attack each month, and in some cases it can take a while for the businesses themselves to even be aware that there is an issue to address.

Symantec spokesperson Greg Clark said that consumers and retailers alike were facing significant risks as a result of the rise of formjacking. He explained that the difficulty of detecting such infections, at least on a surface level, made them especially pernicious and threatened the ability to carry out safe shopping online using legitimate sites.

Hackers tend to follow the money when it comes to working out which strategies to use, and since it is becoming harder to succeed with earlier approaches like phishing, the switch to formjacking is looking more and more appealing.

The good news is that security firms are clearly aware of this issue and are working tirelessly to find ways to fix it and prevent such attacks from succeeding. In the meantime, it is still sensible for consumers to stay vigilant and only shop with sites that have proper security in place.