Vulnerabilities / Threats
12/8/2013
01:31 PM
Tom Parker
Tom Parker
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cyber Monday And The Threat Of Economic Espionage

All signs point to such an event becoming a very real possibility

Based on recent predictions by numerous market analysts, Cyber Monday, the online equivalent of the Black Friday shopping event, is well on its way to overtake physical retail sales numbers in coming years.

According to a recent article by Bloomberg, Cyber Monday online sales were up approximately 20% this year, with many consumers preferring the comfort of their couches to fighting the crowds in physical stores, which are synonymous with Black Friday sales. On a related note, sales on Black Friday itself saw their first decline since 2009.

Post-9/11, I was involved in a number of think-tank activities to review what future attacks might "look like," including how cyber may play a future role in state- and terrorist-sponsored attacks against the United States. While seemingly unrelated at the time, one of the more popular scenarios discussed among physical security folks, related to economic espionage, was targeting consumer outlets.

The scenario was pretty straightforward: Terror group X sends individuals/cells with small arms into malls in every major city in the country, creating mass panic, causing retail store purchases to slow to a point at which some of America's largest outlets are hemorrhaging money, and causing harm to the national economy.

According to the National Retail Federation, per ShopperTrak data (which counts foot traffic at malls), Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. Let's now consider life in five, perhaps 10 years' time, where the busiest retail day of the year is no longer in stores, but online.

For the well-equipped and motivated adversary, this no longer becomes a case of frightening customers from the storefront. It's a simple case of denying them access. As we have seen with many of America's largest financial institutions, denial-of-service attacks remain an effective method, which has evidently become the tactic of choice for at least one nation state's cyberoffensive. Taking into consideration the increase in popularity of Cyber Monday, the dollars invested by online sellers in preparing for and supporting the event (think marketing, planning, infrastructure, increased stock purchases, warehousing, etc.), distributed across an economy that is increasingly reliant on the event to make its Q4 numbers, could result in a significant event that negatively impacts consumer confidence, the financial stability of major retailers, and possibly, in turn, the U.S. economy.

Predicting the potential short- and long-term impacts of such an event is a job for economists; however, all signs point to such an event becoming a very real possibility, which those depending on online retail should be seriously contemplating now -- not attempting to handle as it happens, unlike many of the financial institutions earlier this year.

Tom Parker is CTO at FusionX

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0619
Published: 2014-10-23
Untrusted search path vulnerability in Hamster Free ZIP Archiver 2.0.1.7 allows local users to execute arbitrary code and conduct DLL hijacking attacks via a Trojan horse dwmapi.dll that is located in the current working directory.

CVE-2014-2230
Published: 2014-10-23
Open redirect vulnerability in the header function in adclick.php in OpenX 2.8.10 and earlier allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via a URL in the (1) dest parameter to adclick.php or (2) _maxdest parameter to ck.php.

CVE-2014-7281
Published: 2014-10-23
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Shenzhen Tenda Technology Tenda A32 Router with firmware 5.07.53_CN allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that reboot the device via a request to goform/SysToolReboot.

CVE-2014-7292
Published: 2014-10-23
Open redirect vulnerability in the Click-Through feature in Newtelligence dasBlog 2.1 (2.1.8102.813), 2.2 (2.2.8279.16125), and 2.3 (2.3.9074.18820) allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via a URL in the url parameter to ct.ashx.

CVE-2014-8071
Published: 2014-10-23
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in OpenMRS 2.1 Standalone Edition allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) givenName, (2) familyName, (3) address1, or (4) address2 parameter to registrationapp/registerPatient.page; the (5) comment parameter to all...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.