Malware attacks ramp up from Black Friday to Christmas

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Credit: Loren Javier/flickr

Be careful if you’re shopping online this holiday season. Enigma Software, an online security company, reports that malware infections between Thanksgiving and Christmas increased by 42% from 2013 to 2014 and 82% from 2014 to 2015.

The malware attacks usually come disguised as email from a retailer that tells you there was a problem with a recent order or that advertises holiday price cuts. The email directs you to click a link to solve the problem or buy the sale item. Clicking the link loads malware or exploit kits into your system. These attacks increase in frequency from Black Friday until they reach their peak during the week before Christmas.

You can learn more about holiday malware and how to avoid it in my article How To Protect Yourself From Black Friday And Cyber Monday Malware Attacks.

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John Podesta. Credit: Ralph Alswang at the Center for American Progress

Holiday-themed attacks are not the only way cyber criminals try to hack your system. Spear phishing is one of their more effective methods.

A spear phishing attack usually comes as an email that looks legitimate because it contains information that is personally meaningful to you. Again, it directs you to click a link that loads malware or exploit kits into your system.

The hack into John Podesta’s emails that caused so many problems for Hillary Clinton’s campaign was the result of a spear phishing attack. Podesta clicked the link.

My article How John Podesta’s Emails Were Hacked And How To Prevent It From Happening To You gives you more information about spear phishing and how you can avoid it.

About Kevin Murnane

I am a cognitive scientist, a freelance writer and author (Nutrition for Cyclists: Eating and Drinking Before, During and After the Ride), a musician (Parametric Monkey - stream on Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube), a bookstore owner (Monkey Books - first edition mystery, science fiction, fantasy and more, listed on ABE books, Amazon and Biblio), and a retired house painter, children's theater actor & owner, and university professor. I'm also a regular contributor to the technology section at Forbes and I write a cycling blog called Tuned In To Cycling. You can follow me on twitter @TheInfoMonkey and contact me at murnane.kevin@gmail.com.
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