Christmas shoppers beware, online fraud may peak on November 24th
November 24th can turn into an online shopper’s “black Monday,” as researchers forecast that it might become the worst day of the year for malicious software attacks. This peak in computer attacks is attributed to the surge in online Christmas shopping that happens around the end of November. More online shopping is expected this year as people scour webspace for cheaper deals.
An innovation of hackers this holiday season is rootkits and spam that use the popularity of President-Elect Barack Obama. Malicious files featuring his name have already been widely exploited by online criminals to ruin PCs all over the world. People seem to feel more compelled to open these files without regard for safety, resulting in a greater number of attacks. This might stem from the fact that Barack Obama was one of the most tech savvy presidential candidates ever, having used webspace and other technology extensively in his campaign. So, the reasoning must be, "if it bears Obama's name, it's got to be safe.."
Internet users are being warned to stay vigilant by researchers who believe that next Monday could be the worst day the year for computer attacks.
After analysing information on viruses and internet worms taken from more than 500,000 machines around the world, security experts at PC Tools have pinpointed November 24 as the potential peak of malicious software activity for 2008.
The company says the increase in virus activity could be the result of internet shopping in the run-up to Christmas, as millions of users begin going online to purchase gifts for their friends and family.
With the chance for criminals to access financial details, online shoppers make an attractive target for the writers of malware.
The number of people shopping online this Christmas is expected to grow again this year, with internet sales in the UK alone predicted to hit £13.16bn – an increase of 15% over 2007.
More people are expected to use the web for their shopping as a way of finding lower prices to help them beat the credit crunch.
Spammers and criminals have attempted to use the popularity of American president-elect Barack Obama as a way to trick users into downloading malware.
A flood of emails purporting to link to a video of Obama's acceptance speech were actually connected to a trojan horse program which would compromise the target's PC. Meanwhile, a separate burst of spam messages contained a file called BarackObama.exe, which, when activated, places a rootkit on the victim's machine and opens it up to hackers around the world.
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