Cyber Monday, the unofficial beginning of the holiday shopping season online, will occur this November 26, 2012, bringing with it throngs of shoppers on the hunt for the best deals and hottest products. As retailers try and get ahead by offering the same specials in store as online, the National Retail Federation is seeing a shift in shoppers skipping the 3am wake up call and long lines in favor of the Internet.
However, this convenience serves only as further motivation for cybercriminals targeting unassuming shoppers as they use search engines to find gifts for their loved ones. Google search results for products often include links to ‘poisoned’ sites, or malicious websites that can infect an unsecured computer or smartphone with viruses, worms and other malware, putting one’s personal and financial information at risk.
The more popular an item is, the more likely it will attract a dangerous search result, which could lead to malware or an unreliable merchant. Here are the products we anticipate will be targeted by cybercriminals this holiday season:
- Nintendo Wii U – Available as of this past weekend, the Wii U is expected to be a big seller like the original Wii, which was sold out for nearly an entire year after its launch
- Kindle Fire HD – Tablets are all the rage right now, and a $199 sets this 7” to sell big, with some predicting that the Kindle Fire HD will outsell the iPad mini by two to one
- iPad mini– This budget-friendly Apple tablet is flying off the shelves, with it taking just minutes for the white iPad Mini to sell out at its initial launch
- Hot video game titles – New titles like Halo 4 and COD Black Ops 2 are shattering sales records. In fact, Halo 4 raked in $220 million in its first day on the shelves
- Pre-sale tickets for The Hobbit – Scheduled to come out December 18, pre-sale tickets for this great stocking stuffer are already going fast
- Windows 8 Certification–With the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 software has come a flurry of interest in computer monitors and PCs that boast certification rights
- iPhone 5 / Samsung Galaxy 3– It is predicted that this December quarter, Apple will sell 46 million iPhones, and with retailers already advertising Black Friday deals of nearly 75 percent off on the Samsung Galaxy 3, both smartphones will be in demand
- Touchscreen gloves – We expect the overall demand for touch devices to drive the sale of related accessories
- Furby – Remember this furry little creature that created utter chaos back in the 90’s – well he’s all any kid can talk about for this holiday season
- Breaking Dawn DVD– With Breaking Dawn 2 experiencing a $30.4 million opening, the first Breaking Dawn DVD and other Twilight movies will be popular stocking stuffers
Here are three tips from F-Secure to ensure you stay safe while shopping online this Cyber Monday, and throughout the 2012 holiday season:
- Visit retailers’ websites directly if possible (e.g., www.amazon.com vs. searching ‘Amazon’ on Google)
- Use Internet security software that features browsing protection (or check links with F-Secure’s free Browsing Protection)
- Always check a site’s URL before making any purchase (look to make sure you’re at the correct online store and that the page URL begins with https://, which means it’s secure)
For more advice on staying safe online, including our tips for protecting credit card information while online shopping.
F-Secure’s list of the ‘most dangerous gifts’ was compiled based on market analyst data and gift list inclusions. An analysis of Google Trends has shown items on this list are positioned to spike in search volume during this holiday season.