New data released by global cybersecurity company CHEQ has revealed that bots and fake users made up 35.7 per cent of all online shoppers this Black Friday. Among the forms of fake traffic uncovered by CHEQ were malicious scrapers and crawlers, sophisticated botnets, fake accounts, click farms and proxy users as well as a host of illegitimate users committing eCommerce-related fraud.
The study was conducted across a pool of over 42,000 websites in North America, Europe and Asia, applying hundreds of cybersecurity tests to each website visitor to determine their authenticity.
eCommerce sites were found to be particularly vulnerable, with high exposure to carding attacks, chargeback fraud, data breaches, fake sign-ups and other types of disruptive activities.
Guy Tytuniovich, CHEQ's CEO says: "Fake website traffic is a year-round problem, but this Black Friday we've seen a real sharp spike in the online retail sector.
"This is not a huge surprise to us, given the increase in eCommerce activity, a trend accelerated by the global pandemic. Ultimately, cyber crime follows the money, especially in sectors where business activity is on the rise."
With retailers typically spending as much as $6 billion on Black Friday marketing, while also being exposed to financial fraud, skewed data and lost revenue, CHEQ estimates that damage to businesses on this Black Friday could surpass $1.2 billion.
The estimates are derived from CHEQ's recent report covering the cost of fake traffic to online business. Lior Frenkel, Chairman of the Israel Cybersecurity Forum, who co-authored the study, added that: "Within digital marketing and ecommerce, it is evident that this rise in adversaries' cyber capabilities is resulting in direct, and evident revenue loss to businesses across the globe."