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Cyber Crime and Online Buying Boom – It must be Black Friday

Black Friday – the famous post-Thanksgiving shopping day in the US – is becoming an increasingly British phenomenon too, with analysts predicting a record number of shoppers.

The bargain-hunting frenzy has spilled over into the UK, with online retailers expecting one of their busiest days of the year as shoopers look for Christmas bargains.

Black Friday and Monday’s Cyber Monday are the two biggest days of the year for online shopping, as the festive shopping season begins.

Last year in America an estimated 212 million people went on the hunt for a bargain, spending around $45 billion in the process.

And industry analysts expect even more this year, with many of the big-name US stores such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Toys ‘R’ Us opening their doors as early as 9pm on Thursday, to maximise their profits.

Gadgets and electronic items are a big draw for shoppers, both online and off, with plenty of big discounts on TVs, games consoles, and mp3 players available. iPads and the iPhone 4S are also likely to be popular buys on both sides of the Atlantic: latest figures suggest that the Apple store is the second most popular online shop in the UK.

Black Friday Cyber Attacks

The Black Friday shopping frenzy has however been the target of online attacks, as cyber criminals try to take advantage of shoppers’ quest for bargains. The BBC has reported that some iTunes customers are being sent malware in the form of a gift certificate.

Users are sent an email claiming to be from iTunes telling them that they have been sent $50 worth of vouchers for the music store. They are urged to open a zip file which contains the malware program. This then opens up a backdoor to the user’s computer, allowing hackers to gain access to passwords or credit card details.

This follows news earlier this week that found that users of Microsoft’s Xbox Live online gaming portal have fallen victim to a suspected phishing scam, which has seen many stung with credit card charges for items they have not purchased.