Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/8/2013
01:31 PM
Tom Parker
Tom Parker
Commentary
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
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Tor Weaponized to Steal Bitcoin
Dark Reading Staff 10/18/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18218
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
cdf_read_property_info in cdf.c in file through 5.37 does not restrict the number of CDF_VECTOR elements, which allows a heap-based buffer overflow (4-byte out-of-bounds write).
CVE-2019-18217
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
ProFTPD before 1.3.6b and 1.3.7rc before 1.3.7rc2 allows remote unauthenticated denial-of-service due to incorrect handling of overly long commands because main.c in a child process enters an infinite loop.
CVE-2019-16862
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
Reflected XSS in interface/forms/eye_mag/view.php in OpenEMR 5.x before 5.0.2.1 allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of a user's session via the pid parameter.
CVE-2019-17409
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
Reflected XSS exists in interface/forms/eye_mag/view.php in OpenEMR 5.x before 5.0.2.1 ia the id parameter.
CVE-2019-10715
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
There is Stored XSS in Verodin Director before 3.5.4.0 via input fields of certain tooltips, and on the Tags, Sequences, and Actors pages.