Black Friday sees 300% rise in malware attacks


In the first two weeks of November, all cyber-attacks grew by 10% and malware attacks spiked by 300% on Black Friday this year, shows
Capture Labs data and a recent study by the cybersecurity company Surfshark. Numbers returned to normal November levels on Cyber Monday.

The number of websites attacked 50 times a day by hackers grew by 10% in the first two weeks of November compared to October. Sharp jumps started with a 30% increase in cyber-attacks on Singles Day, and peaked with a 300% spike in malware attacks on Black Friday. In actual numbers, November started with 15M cases of malware attacks and rose to 60M on Black Friday. 

Interestingly, intrusion attacks decreased by 15% on Black Friday, potentially indicating that hackers adjust their strategy to malware depending on the event and peoples’ behaviour. Although the sales continued on into Cyber Monday, the malware statistics stabilized and came back to the level it was at the beginning of November.

Explains Vytautas Kaziukonis, CEO of Surfshark:

“The results from our new study are a warning to all online shopping enthusiasts: scammers become extra active during annual shopping sprees such as Black Friday and may get more active during the upcoming Christmas holidays. Most common e-commerce attacks include tech support scams as well as malware ads.

“People often fall for fake websites that look identical to official sites but advertise goods with much better prices. The dangers go as far as credit card theft and major hacking attacks on e-commerce sites.”

Based on United States Census Bureau data, people in the US spent around $6.5B more on Black Friday than any other day of 2021, leaving massive traces of personal information online. This year marks the first time spendings had dipped lower than the previous year, as online shoppers spent around 100M less than in 2020.

Even though purchases show a downward trend, cyber threats show an opposite tendency. Despite the risk of scams during the shopping season, there are a few principles that can help you avoid major losses, says Vytautas Kaziukonis.

“Always double-checking the vendor and using disposable credit cards can go a long way. It’s also very important to stay vigilant of links that are shortened or have typos – these usually lead to phishing or fake malware websites. Most importantly, don’t forget to use password managers, antiviruses, firewalls, and VPN. These security and privacy tools will keep your devices safe from malware and other cyberattacks not only on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but also all-year-round.”

Chris Price
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