The good news is that online holiday shoppers in the U.S. spent some $27 billion between Nov. 1 and today, an increase of $3.5 billion compared to last year, according to figures from research firm ComScore.
The bad news is that scammers and phishers were following close behind.
Phishing attacks soared in December as cybercriminals looked to capitalize on the higher number of online shoppers in the run up to Christmas, according to new research published yesterday by managed security firm Network Box.
The firm's analysis of Web-based threats in December indicates that just more than 57 percent of all threats were phishing attacks, compared to 28.3 percent in November.
"The run-up to Christmas is traditionally a time for hackers to strike the vulnerable. A higher proportion of shopping is done online, with more money spent than at any other time of year," warned Simon Heron, Internet security analyst at Network Box. "Christmas offers rich pickings for phishers. This is likely to continue through the sales in January, and we urge online bargain hunters to be vigilant."
The firm also found that the greatest source of viruses and spam during December was Brazil, which accounted for 20.9 percent of all viruses and 9.1 percent of all spam. This is up from 14 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in November.
Network Box also warned that India is playing an increasingly significant role in the world's threat landscape, accounting for 6.8 percent of all spam (up from 4.2 per cent in November) and 4.1 percent of viruses (about the same as in November).
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