Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, which means it is also the single biggest opportunity for criminals to steal cash, personal information and credit card numbers, and they've got an imposing arsenal to carry out their plans against the unwary.
They'll rely on a range of scams that play on human frailties as well as malware technology that automates the theft of sensitive personal and financial data.
Some of these criminal plans have been around for years and with upgrades and revisions remain effective today so beware these holiday traditions.
The FBI is all over this problem and has issued some sound advice, including not responding to, clicking on links in and opening attachments to unsolicited emails. All can lead to infections and data theft. Also, don't fill out forms in such emails that ask for personal information.
Even if an email seems legitimate perhaps from your bank - log on to Web sites directly rather than clicking on links. Look up those URLs independent from whatever is contained in the email, the FBI says.
The FBI also recommends:
- Only shop reputable online sites.
- When you Google a site, double check the URL of the top-listed sites before clicking. Some criminals pay for high placements in search results.
- Make sure payment pages are encrypted start with HTTPS.
The threats include malware that logs keystrokes in order to capture passwords and other personal information and then send it to a command and control server where criminals can pick it up. The C&C servers can even take the information and automate attacks right away on bank accounts of sessions they've hijacked.
Other malware attacks go after the point-of-sale terminals in stores, picking off unencrypted data from credit card magnetic strips.
Here are some of the specific tricks and tools lurking out there to cause damage.
Active since 2007
What it does: It can be used to perform man-in-the-browser keystroke logging in order to steal usernames, passwords, account numbers and the like from online banking customers.
Infection method: Driveby downloads and phishing
Presence: It is thought to have infected more than 3 million machines in the U.S. alone
Active since 2013
What it does: It infects Windows-based point-of-sale devices and steals data from the magnetic strips on credit cards.
Infection method: Compromise machines on retailers' corporate networks and move laterally to gain access to the network segment with POS machines on it, then use a Windows vulnerability to install the Trojan.
Presence: The Secret Service said this year Trojan.backoff has affected more than 1,000 businesses.
Active since 2013
What it does: It captures credit card data from POS machines, stores it on compromised machines elsewhere in the retailer's network and ships it out to criminal-controlled servers via FTP.
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