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Five Top Christmas Internet Threats

ESET : 09 December, 2010  (Technical Article)
ESET has identified what it believes to be the top five internet security threats facing users over the Christmas period
The countdown to Christmas has finally begun and preparations are well under way - but amongst the festivities, a host of Yuletide-themed threats will appear on the internet which threaten to spoil a happy Christmas.

Anti-virus software provider ESET has compiled its list of 5 internet security threats, which it believes consumers should be aware of and watch out for this Christmas.

Mark James, technical director ESET, explains, "For many Christmas is the season of goodwill, an opportunity to spend time with family and of course an excuse to eat and drink far too much. But for others it's a great excuse to spread SPAM, malware and internet viruses. Every year we see Christmas-related threats spring up - some are very sophisticated, whilst others rely on simple 'tried and tested' techniques to access internet users' information. Below is a list of threats, old and new, which consumers should watch out for this Christmas when online."

ESET: Top 5 threats to watch out for this Christmas:

1. Dangerous Christmas Holiday Downloads
E-mail and Instant Messenger are awash with Christmas holiday-themed downloads for screensavers, jingles and animations. These are an easy way for scammers to spread viruses and other computer threats especially when links come from an email or IM that appears to be from a friend or on Facebook.

2. Greeting Cards Hoax E-mails
The holiday season always brings a flood of fake links for 'free' Christmas cards from well known companies, once the links have been clicked on, they may ask to install extra video components to watch videos that contain malicious software.

3. Parcel Delivery scams
A long standing trick from hackers is to send fake emails about a parcel being delivered. Emails will then request that the recipient hurries to the website to enter details to validate who they are so they can re-deliver. These websites are course not authentic.

4. Christmas Facebook threats (real and hoax)
Facebook is an effective way for hackers to virally spread malware and viruses. Malicious apps and links can spread wild fire between 'friends' and Facebook 'groups'. But as well as genuine threats, hoax viruses are also a problem. The most recent example is the hoax 'Christmas Tree App'. The message, spread via Facebook, warned users about a 'Christmas Tree App' virus - in fact there was no virus at all, it was just a hoax. But the act of spreading these types of messages is potentially quite damaging. Malware can be removed fairly easily but this type of wrong information can live on for months, if not years, because people think they are doing 'the right thing' by alerting fellow users.

5. Deals that are too good to be true
If that online price for this year's must-have gift seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Hackers will always look to use enticing hooks to lure in victims so beware of online ads and online shops offering cut price deals. Big sellers this year are likely to be consoles like Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Kinect and Playstation Move - there is a high chance bogus emails will begin to circulate using these products.
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