Cyber-criminals are targeting online shopping sites during Black Friday

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With concerns about rising COVID infections, online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday is expected to surge. However, that also attracts cyber-crime. The economy is part of Building A Better Bay Area.

The amount of money to be spent online over the next five days is staggering. Adobe projects $6 billion on Thanksgiving, $10 billion on Black Friday, and almost $13 billion on Cyber Monday. Cybercriminals will be shopping, too, at websites large and small.

RELATED: Cash App fake contact number scam steals thousands of dollars from users

"The reality is that the smaller retailers are just as vulnerable. In some cases, they're even more vulnerable," said Craig Hinkley, CEO of WhiteHat Security.

That's because they may not have resources to fight intrusions. Silicon Valley's WhiteHat Security says organized crime rings and nation states are stealing credit card numbers and exploiting holes in security.

"One of our ethical hackers was able to have the website ship products and credit back the hacker's credit card, so in essence, the hacker was able to have the business pay them for items the business sent to them," Hinkley said.

For protection, consumers are urged to use strong passwords, not to verbally give out their credit card numbers or to save them on a website as part of a customer profile, and to be on the alert for suspicious messages with links. They can show up as text messages on your mobile phone.

RELATED: FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US healthcare system

Another Silicon Valley cyber security firm, Vectra AI, believes foreign adversaries will exploit the delayed transition at the White House and possible distractions.

"I am 100 percent sure there are plenty of gaps to exploit if somebody wants to get really focused, which kind of just necessitates that whatever transition is occurring now, just accelerates," said Vectra AI CEO Hitesh Sheth.

Hackers will be stalking you and the sites where you shop.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.