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Black Friday Kicks Off Red-Letter Week For Phishers

Number of threats increased by 300 percent over 2007, report says
Holiday shoppers may have been out and about over the Thanksgiving weekend, but phishers apparently were hard at work.

Cyveillance today reported that it recorded some 8,298 phishing threats during Thanksgiving week, a 300 percent increase from last year. In addition, Black Friday saw attacks increase 380 percent year-over-year, while attacks on Cyber Monday rose nearly 400 percent, up from 242 in 2007 to 954 Monday. Cyveillance said it has also observed an increased use of previously unknown malware in these attacks, allowing the criminals to more easily mask their attacks.

The spike in phishing attacks, which also occurred last year, is a result of criminals capitalizing on historically lax security measures taken during long holiday weekends, Cyveillance said. Typical targets include small businesses and credit unions, which may not have around-the-clock security teams to respond to threats that occur during extended weekends. Phishing attacks have reached all-time highs in the past three months, the security company said.

"Online criminals are still targeting unsuspecting Internet users during long holiday weekends, validating a trend we first discovered in 2007," said Panos Anastassiadis, CEO of Cyveillance. "During this down economy, online criminals are undoubtedly trying to take advantage of online shoppers looking for holiday deals. The hectic nature of the holiday season, combined with a lack of structured security set the stage for criminals to take advantage of vulnerable users."

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