Black Friday, Cyber Monday threat warnings issued

Christmas shoppers should be wary of the proliferation of threats set to appear today and Monday.

Holiday season warning

Today is Black Friday one of the busiest days in the online shopping calendar and people have been told to beware of malware focusing on holiday deals.

Another huge day is Cyber Monday, which follows this coming weekend, and again threats based around consumer trends are likely to be prevalent, security researchers have warned.

One major form of attack will be SEO poisoning, designed to lure users in to visiting malicious websites, which could attempt to infect computers with malware.

F-Secure has handily listed a number of search terms cyber criminals are likely to target this Christmas period, with "Kinect for Xbox" top of the list.

Then comes "Call of Duty: Black Ops," followed by "Jewelry" and "Amazon Kindle."

"Cyber criminals know this Friday and Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year," said Sean-Paul Correll, threat researcher at PandaLabs.

"It's more important than ever for shoppers to follow best practices to avoid infecting their computers or turning over their private information into dangerous hands."

PandaLabs suggested avoiding using search engines to find special deals and instead head straight to a known retailer's website.

The firms also recommended not clicking on embedded links in advertisement emails as they could be a cover for a malware attack.

Not a Merry Christmas for all

Black Friday has not been as smooth a day as many would have wished, with deals being snapped up in seconds and leaving bargain hunters frustrated.

Cyber Monday may inspire more ire if websites fail to deal with large influxes of traffic.

"Many etailers continue to miss the point, opting to invest in a flashy, visually engaging website but completely neglect the back end," said Colin Rowland, senior vice president of EMEA operations for business transaction management firm OpTier.

"In doing so they impact their ability to scale in line with demand, give a great shopping experience and manage their supply chain."

OpTier research found poorly performing websites were the biggest turn off for online Christmas shoppers.

"Unlike the recent rush for Take That tickets, etailers selling the latest must-have toy are two a penny online and if your site doesn't perform it takes just one click to find a competitor that can," Rowland added.

"It's basic errors such as these that threaten to leave large pound shaped hole in etailers Christmas stockings."

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