Experts Warn: Shop Carefully This Cyber Monday

Dennis Faas's picture

If you missed out on the big deals offered this past Black Friday, then there's a good chance you're looking forward to doing some online shopping today, better known as Cyber Monday.

Security experts, however, believe this year could offer an unprecedented amount of trouble for online consumers who don't take the proper precautions when shopping online for bargains.

"Even more holiday shopping will happen online this year than last, and that means more scammers will be looking to do some shopping of their own -- possibly at your expense," said security expert, Stephen Cobb. (Source:

It's estimated that last year's Cyber Monday sales totaled an incredible $1 billion, and experts predict this year's revenue could actually be significantly higher.

Experts: Approach All Emails with Caution

So, what kind of threats do shoppers need to look out for?

Security experts warn that this year could see a significant rise in the number of malicious emails pretending to offer information about Cyber Monday bargains. The scam is simple: open the wrong email (or link or attachment to that message) and you could execute a malicious file that installs spyware or a virus on your PC. (Source:

"Beware of everything and everybody," said Zscaler ThreatLabZ vice-president of security research, Michael Sutton, in reference to incoming emails on Cyber Monday morning.

Work-Based Shopping Increases Threat

The interesting thing about Cyber Monday is that many of us do our shopping at work. Experts warn that clicking the wrong link or opening the wrong attachment could put more than just your PC at risk, but could damage an entire firm's network.

Both Zscaler and prominent security company McAfee are warning businesses to make their employees aware of the kinds of threats lurking in emails on Cyber Monday.

In fact, McAfee went so far as to suggest that companies block Internet access to workers on Cyber Monday to limit the chances that employees open troublesome emails.

If that's simply not possible, security experts insist that home and business Internet users alike update their operating systems with the latest security patches before clicking on any emails, links, or attachments this Cyber Monday.

And remember, if a deal in an email sounds too good to be true -- such as a free $50 iTunes gift certificate -- then it probably is.

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