How do Cybercrooks Target PCs during the Holiday Shopping Season?

December 9, 2016
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Protect Yourself from Malware As You Do Your Holiday Shopping

Holiday Shopping Malware Infections Report by Enigma Software Group

According to data released by Enigma Software Group (ESG), makers of the SpyHunter anti-malware program, malware infections spiked 106% from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, 2016.  Analyzed data from SpyHunter in the month leading up to Thanksgiving weekend was compared to the number of infections detected for the four day period.  It showed Cyber Monday having the most infections, 118% above normal.  The trend in the increase of malware infections is increasing, with a spike of 42% in 2014, 84% in 2015 and 106% in 2016.

How do Cybercrooks Target PCs during the Holiday Shopping Season?

  • Spam emails and links promising great deals. Malware makers know that people will be on the lookout for great prices on everything from gaming consoles to phones. They’ll send bogus emails promising super low prices. Those emails will contain links that can install malware if they are clicked.Cybercrooks will also post bad links in Facebook and Twitter accounts that they hijack.
  • Fake emails that look like they are from real online retailers. Cybercrooks know it’s likely you’ve bought something online from Amazon or Toys R Us. So they send fake emails that tell you there was a problem with your recent order, hoping you’ll click on a link that will install malware.
  • Poisoned search results. Sophisticated cybercrooks can create fake web pages promising to sell hot holiday items at very low prices. They can even work to make those pages show up in Google searches for particular products. If someone clicks over to the bogus page, an infection is just a few seconds away.

Malware infections today are far more than the simple nuisances of that past that slowed down your computer. Some of the more common infections today can steal personal information, access your contacts and important files, and in some cases literally hold your computer hostage until you pay a ransom to unlock it. In fact, the percentage of overall malware infections made up of “ransomware” has doubled from 2015 to today.

KeepYour Computer Safe this Holiday Season and Year Round

The experts at ESG warn that the risk of malware infections doesn’t stop at Cyber Monday. Crooks will be taking advantage of online shoppers through the holiday season. In fact, in 2015, the busiest day for infections wasn’t Cyber Monday, it was two weeks later. So it’s important for shoppers to remain vigilant.

  • Always have reliable anti-spyware and anti-malware software installed (we obviously recommend SpyHunter), and make sure to run frequent scans and updates.
  • If you are trying to check on the status of an online order, type the website of the retailer into your address bar manually to log in and check. Don’t trust a link sent in an email.
  • Be wary of unfamiliar web sites that ask you to install software before continuing with your shopping. Most of the time that software has malware embedded in it.
  • Never click on links in social media messages. This includes Twitter direct messages and messages sent to you via Facebook. They may look like they are coming from your friends, but there’s a good chance their account has been compromised and cybercrooks are trying to trick you.

 

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