Skip to main content

10 Items NOT to Search For Online

Black Friday looms just ahead, lurking less than two days away and waiting patiently like a sleeping dragon, yearning for our large sacks of hard earned cash. While maxed credit cards and empty bank accounts await consumers by the end of Monday, other predators seek a different treasure this holiday season: your valuable credentials.

To help open the eyes of turkey-weary present hunters, security firm F-Secure has released its Cyber Monday Cyber-Watch List, a yearly compilation of the most dangerous gifts consumers will be shopping for online this holiday season. The list points to popular search terms that will likely produce hazardous results on Google or other search engines.

"Many people don’t expect to find that Google search results often include links to poisoned sites," F-Secure said on Tuesday. "These malicious sites can infect an unsecured PC with malware, wasting precious time and money. The more popular a gift is the more likely you are to find a dangerous search result."

Here is F-Secure's Top 10 list:

  • 1. Kinect for Xbox
  • 2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • 3. Jewelry
  • 4. Amazon Kindle
  • 5. Toys
  • 6. Black Friday Deals
  • 7. Cyber Monday Deals
  • 8. Toy Story 3
  • 9. Susan Boyle
  • 10. Apple iPad

F-Secure suggests that consumers visit retailers directly online if possible. They should also (naturally) use internet security software that features browsing protection. Finally, always make sure the site's URL begins with https:// before making any purchases.

According to Sean Sullivan, a security analyst at F-Secure, the more common scams send browsers to a Javascript page flashing fake anti-virus, or "scareware." Others hackers create fake websites and/or banner ads listed in the top search results that can infect unsecured computers. He also added that attackers know in advance which search terms to target with malicious links.

"Usually they have to react to trends," he said. "It's an extra advantage on their part to know whats coming."

We're just wondering what Susan Boyle has to do with Cyber Monday, honestly. Anyone?