Valentines Day is today, cyber criminals around the world also seem to be caught up in the spirit of this little holiday day. Over the past two years, Check Point Research has identified malicious use of the word “Valentine”  during the month of February. In both 2018 and 2019, the increase was over 200% in February, compared to the previous months, and this was the biggest increase reported throughout the year (see chart below).

A similar, yet less stable trend was seen with malicious use of the word “chocolate” – in 2018 the increase was almost 500% in February, while in 2019 it was more modest at 39%.

The usage of these words by attackers serves a purpose: It allows hackers to hide within legitimate looking websites. The threats in such websites can vary and include online scams, credentials or payment detail theft and malware infections. How can you avoid falling victim to these scams? Our recommendations for a safer online experience are:

  1. Verify you are ordering online from an authentic source. One way to do this is by avoiding promotional emails, and instead Googling your desired retailer and clicking the link from the Google results page.
  2. Beware of “special” offers. An 80% discount on the new iPad is usually not a reliable or trustworthy purchase opportunity.
  3. Beware of lookalike domains, spelling errors in emails or websites, and unfamiliar email senders.

For a more in-depth version of this story, visit the Check Point blog.