Valentine’s Day is a boon to restaurants, retailers, flower shops, online dating sites – and cyber hackers.

That’s because consumers’ defenses are down, as they search for great deals on gifts for loved ones – or seek to start a new relationship online. As a result, company networks, from mid-market B2B enterprises to small and medium-sized businesses , can be compromised.

According to Fabre Technologies Cyber security experts, the three greatest Valentine’s Day cyber threats this year are:

  1. Phishing emails targeting online shoppers and daters
  2. Malware advertising mimicking legitimate websites
  3. Cyber attacks targeting point-of-sale devices

While all companies should mount a strong defense, there are several sectors that are especially vulnerable to cyber attacks this Valentine’s Day:

As employees surf and shop online, they put themselves at risk to opening phishing emails, engaging with infected greeting cards and clicking on malicious advertising. One of the greatest threats is online dating. Last year, more than 30 million dating spam emails  were sent every day from 950,000 different IP addresses. Attackers sought to start online relationships with their targets to solicit compromising photos for blackmail or personal information for identity theft and fraud. In addition, mainstream dating websites like Match.com and PlentyOfFish have been top targets for malware advertising , and “love bots” seek to encourage users to converse and provide payment information. Finally, online greeting cards which have gained in popularity, can download malware onto employee machines when opened.

What can you do?

Companies can educate their employees about the danger of clicking on unknown links and sharing personal information via email and the internet. However, users are not cybersecurity experts. In addition, threats today are increasingly sophisticated and seem like legitimate services. Businesses can protect their networks from phishing emails, an overload of spam, and malicious advertising with a cloud base email security solutions.  To take it a step further, businesses can protect their network from internet threats and malicious internet downloads by deploying a DNS web filtering solution to block employees from visiting fake websites, as well as distracting sites they may be visiting before Valentine’s Day.

Retailers, who send legitimate marketing emails and have website offers, can be spoofed. Consumers who shop online may be lured into clicking malicious links in emails that seem to be offering great deals and then providing personal and payment information on spoofed sites. In addition, cyber attackers can harvest credentials on retail websites, as customers place orders.