Online shopping has surged since lockdown started in March. Many of us, looking to be healthier, have headed online for sports equipment and a number of sportswear retailers have reported booming online sales. John Lewis recorded a 72% increase in total sports shoe sales, while Adidas and Puma have both seen an increase in ecommerce revenue.
Shoppers browsing online for the best deals, however, need to take care, as many people would be surprised at the scale of fake shops. Each day we find new fake shops designed to entice shoppers away from bona fide outlets, as many brands have yet to find effective countermeasures.
Counterfeit shoes, clothing and other accessories are estimated to lose the industry more than €26 billion each year in the EU alone, while the loss due to all online counterfeiting is estimated at $323 billion a year. The OECD estimated that over 3% of all imports worldwide are counterfeit.
Traditionally fake shops claim to sell luxury consumer goods at highly discounted prices. We have seen fake shops using at least three different models:
- Payment is accepted, but no goods are delivered.
- At the end of the checkout process, an error message is displayed such as “Out of Stock” and no transaction occurs. This is equivalent to a phishing attack, as the fake shop has the consumer’s credentials.
- Payment is accepted, and goods are delivered. The quality of goods varies between junk and identical to the bona fide item.
Trainers are the most counterfeited goods
We currently block around 75,000 fake shops in our extension and apps. Of these, roughly half target a specific brand, such as Nike or Adidas. About 70% of the fake shops selling branded goods sell shoes, predominantly trainers.
Corroborating this, European customs authorities handle more cases of counterfeit sports shoes than any other type of product.
Governments and organisations globally have been making announcements that just a few weeks prior would have been unprecedented. As more of our lives are moving online in an attempt to adapt to changes brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, many are trying out services they were previously unfamiliar with, such as video conferencing or online grocery shopping. While others are finding themselves with more time to pursue online hobbies such as gaming.
The combined effect of information overload and a mass of people using unfamiliar software and services has created an environment ripe for exploitation by cybercriminals.
Netcraft has tracked Coronavirus-themed cybercrime since 16th March, shortly after it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. While Netcraft continues to see high volumes of Coronavirus-inspired fake shops, advance fee fraud, phishing and malware lures, this post covers some of the trends Netcraft has observed since our previous posts on the topic.
Recently observed Coronavirus-themed threats
Fake Government information sites and mobile malware
Many governments have set up dedicated websites offering advice and services to support their citizens through the pandemic. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this by providing copy-cat sites with a malicious twist.
In one recent campaign, the cybercriminals deployed a site that poses as the UK Government and offers “credit card refunds” for “COVID-19 support”. The fraudulent site uses UK Government branding and collects the victim’s personal information – including their credit card number, date of birth and telephone number.
Netcraft has added protection from Coronavirus-related cybercrime to its mobile apps for Android and iOS, and to its browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. Websites containing these attacks will be blocked for those who have the app or extension installed. The iOS app — currently available in the UK and Canada — blocks Coronavirus-themed attacks impersonating Canadian and UK businesses as well as providing global coverage of fake shops purporting to sell Coronavirus-related goods.
Since 16 March Netcraft has been monitoring and disrupting Coronavirus-themed cybercrime, which accounts for five percent of the attacks we perform countermeasures against and is becoming more prevalent on the internet.
The Netcraft App can be downloaded from any of the major three major app stores:
The Netcraft Extension can be downloaded for any of the four major browsers:
Just like Coronavirus itself, the Coronavirus-themed cybercrime it has spawned is quickly becoming a pandemic of its own. Cybercriminals have been quick to take advantage of the media attention on the story, using lures with a Coronavirus theme. Many of the attacks Netcraft has observed have used the fear and uncertainty surrounding the situation to trigger a response from their victims.
Netcraft has tracked Coronavirus-themed cybercrime since 16th March, shortly after it was declared a pandemic by the WHO. This post covers some of the trends Netcraft has observed since our previous post on the topic.
Analysis of certificate transparency logs for new certificates covering hostnames containing keywords “COVID” and “Coronavirus” shows increasing numbers of certificates are being issued for Coronavirus-themed hostnames.
Whilst some of the certificates included in the graph will be being used for legitimate purposes, many certificates – particularly those which have been registered since the outbreak started – are being used to spread disinformation, host fake shops and pharmacies, serve phishing websites and to disseminate malware.
Netcraft has tracked Coronavirus-themed cybercrime since 16th March, shortly after it was declared a pandemic by the WHO. Scammers have been quick to take advantage of the massive worldwide attention to Coronavirus (COVID-19), and are increasingly making use of it as a theme for online fraud.
Netcraft is the largest provider of anti-phishing takedowns in the world and provides countermeasures against some 75 other types of cybercrime for governments, internet infrastructure and many of the world’s largest banks and enterprises. Coronavirus-themed cybercrime accounts for around 5% of all the attacks we perform countermeasures against, even without accounting for attacks that may otherwise be attributed to existing phishing targets.
More than 850,000 websites still rely on the outdated TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 protocols that are scheduled to be blocked by the majority of web browsers this month. These older versions of the Transport Layer Security protocol, which date back to 1999 and 2006, are vulnerable to numerous practical attacks that have been resolved in later versions. Among the sites still using these outdated setups are major banks, governments, news, and telecoms companies. Big and small alike, such websites are about to be derailed by full-page browser warnings, with the added prospect of getting blocked entirely later on.
This all comes despite more than a year’s notice. Back in late 2018, the four largest browser vendors — Mozilla, Google, Apple, and Microsoft — jointly announced the deprecation of TLS 1.0 and 1.1, with support to be removed from their browsers in March 2020 or shortly thereafter. But a number of notable sites have not heeded these warnings, and have so far failed to switch to a version of TLS more modern than 1.0.
Included in the list is Huawei, which is already under fire for its less than reassuring security practices. But it’s not just Huawei that’s letting TLS 1.0-only servers slip through the cracks — the UK’s largest mobile network, O2, uses a TLS 1.0-based redirect services on https://o2.co.uk. Governmental websites are also no exception, including the South Africa Justice department, justice.gov.za, and the California Tax Service Center, taxes.ca.gov. Usage of TLS 1.0 is also particularly prevalent on less popular sites or internal services — places where browser security warnings may go unnoticed for some time.
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