Philippines experienced heightened cyber threats on Black Friday — report

MANILA, Philippines — The allure of discounts and bargains on the run-up to Black Friday left more Filipino consumers vulnerable to cyber threats, according to data released by VPN service company Surfshark.

According to Surfshark, cyber threats in the country spiked by 95.01% in the week leading up to Black Friday. The company is a subsidiary of NordVPN, one of the world’s most popular VPN services.

The “informal” holiday, nominally recognized a day after Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, is considered the busiest shopping day in the US owing to the many discounts businesses and firms offer.

“The holiday shopping season starting with Black Friday is not only beneficial for the retailers but cybercriminals too,” said Nedas Kazlauskas, antivirus product owner at Surfshark. 

Surfshark’s investigation of its services found that the Philippines incurred 13 threats per 100 scan cycles week-on-week. For context, the company said that consumers located in Romania (4349%), Australia (275%), Lithuania (95%), Belgium (440%), and Germany (75%) were highly-vulnerable to cyber threats during the same period.

“People searching for gifts and deals online during the period of huge discounts are more likely to click on suspicious links, download malicious files, and infect their devices,” Kazlauskas added.

That said, Surfshark indicated that the two of the most common cyber threat categories are malware and riskware. The former could come in the form of software, products, or programs that could inflict serious harm when installed in computers. The latter was created without intent to cause harm, but owing to its security gaps it could morph into malware.

Monthly data aggregated from Surfshark Antivirus revealed that the Philippines ranked seventh by threat rate among countries in the Asia-Pacific. 

As it is, the company reported there are 15 threats uncovered for every 100 scan cycles within the region. This clip ran 7% less than the global average.