UAE residents under cyberattack as Ramadan deals drive shopping spree

Increased online activity during the festive season has led to a high risk of cyberattacks

By Staff Writer Wed 29 Mar 2023 Source: ArabianBusiness


During the Ramadan season in the UAE, an increased number of customers look towards online shopping seeking deals and discounts. However, the upward trend in online shopping has led to a surge in cybercrime, according to a study by Qrator Labs.

Experts are warning of a rise in cyberattacks and potential malicious activity, an average increase of 45 percent is observed and will likely continue during the Ramadan period.

The study revealed that one such way of cyberattack is through the use of bots, cyber criminals deploy bots that enter retail sites and register new accounts offering bonus programmes. The bots could also potentially enter customers’ baskets and steal accounts, and change customer details including delivery addresses.

Retailers have access to a heap of customer data which could also potentially be leaked, traded or sold on the dark web. Risk to both customers and businesses.

The study also revealed that bot attacks have the ability to subvert marketing campaigns on websites and mobile apps while also leading to slow site operation or unavailability.

Key takeaways

Almost all bot traffic (95 percent) enters retail sites under a unified client account (same email and password), allowing for registration of new accounts offering bonus programmes and operating within customers’ baskets.

Accounts with an active bonus programme are at risk of being stolen by hackers, especially recent registration or minimally active ones.

Data leakage through hacked accounts can be leveraged to change customer details including delivery addresses.

According to a report by help AG, cyberattacks in the UAE increased by 250 percent during Ramadan 2021.

Steps to protect against cyberattacks

Experts recommend that businesses make proactive behavioural analyses, use security services and implement predictive algorithms to stop bots.

Users can enhance account security by changing passwords regularly, using different passwords across platforms and implementing the use of two-factor authentication. Regular account verification is also recommended.

“High bot activity can overload websites, consumers might not be able to make purchases, and as a result, it could lead to customer churn.  The problem may lie deeper than most think. A business has to mitigate risks in any season, but especially during the holiday sales period, when website traffic increases due to ordinary users and is strengthened by malicious bots. It can be avoided if businesses make proactive behavioral analysis, use security services, and implement predictive algorithms to stop bots,” said Maxim Beloenko, Sales Global VP, Qrator Labs.

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