Type the phrase "Cyber Monday" into Google, and you'll find links not only to special Cyber Monday coupons and savings, but also to Cyber Monday-only sales at some of the largest online retailers. It's truly become the Internet's version of Black Friday.
Cyber Monday began officially in 2005, but the phenomenon goes back to the beginning of online shopping, before computers were a fixture in homes. People would return to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving and shop from their office computers.
This year, more than a third of American consumers will shop online on Cyber Monday, although many of us will be shopping from the comfort of our living room sofas. Cyber Monday has gone mobile as well, with more than 4 percent of shoppers expected to make holiday purchases from their smartphones or tablets.
Of course, as the popularity of Cyber Monday grows and the deals get bigger and better, the risks of shopping online also increase. Cybercriminals love Cyber Monday too, and work hard to get rich off the huge number of people engaging in online commerce around the holidays.
"Our inboxes are filling up with offers, and it's easy to slip something malicious into the volume of unsolicited emails during this time of year," said Don DeBolt, director of technical intelligence for Chantilly, Va.-based security company iSight Partners.
"Due to the sheer volume of people shopping on Monday, [it also] makes for a great time to insert a malicious advertisement into an established ad network," DeBolt said. "This type of attack is known as 'malvertising' and results in the attacker taking you to a website of their choosing when your browser loads the malicious advertisement.
"Computer users have little control over this attack if they are not using an ad-blocking application, so it is highly recommended that an anti-malware product is used to best protect against this kind of attack."
To help shoppers stay safe and secure on Cyber Monday, DeBolt offered the following tips. Click "next" to proceed.