According to the blog post on Malwarebytes Labs, the web skimming increased by 26 percent in March over the previous month. While this might not seem like a dramatic jump, digital credit card skimming was already on the rise prior to COVID-19, and this trend will likely continue into the near future.

While many merchants remain safe despite the increased volume in processed transactions, the exposure to compromised e-commerce stores is greater than ever.

Many security vendors actively track web skimmers and add protection capabilities into their products. This is the case with Malwarebytes, and web protection is available in both our desktop product and browser extension. Sharing our findings and attempting to disrupt skimming infrastructure is effective at tacking the problem at scale, rather than on an individual (per site) basis.

Shopping online is convenient but not risk-free. Ultimately, users are the ones who can make savvy choices and avoid many pitfalls. Here are some recommendations:

  • Limit the number of times you have to manually enter your credit card data. Rely on platforms where that information is already stored in your account or use one-time payment options.
  • Check if the online store displays properly in your browser, without any errors or certain red flags indicating that it has been neglected.
  • Do not take trust seals or other indicators of confidence at face value. Because a site displays a logo saying it’s 100% safe does not mean it actually is.
  • If you are unsure about a site, you can use certain tools to scan it for malware or to see if it’s already on a blacklist.
  • More advanced users may want to examine a site’s source code using Developer Tools for instance, which as a side effect may turn off a skimmer noticing it is being checked.
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Malwarebytes expect web skimming activity to keep on an upward trend in the coming months as the online shopping habits forged during this pandemic continue on well beyond.