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As another Black Friday passes we move into some of the biggest online shopping periods for the holiday season. Last years Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day in history and this year consumers are estimated to spend $23.4 billion online during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend. While online retailers celebrate the significant increase in sales ($7.8 billion), customers need to remain aware of the safety of their digital footprint. From creating secure passwords for emails to making sure your credit card information is safe from cyber criminals, users should always be alert with countless powerful individuals and groups looking to exploit personal information to make some dough.

Even though some of the most popular sites like Amazon, Google, and Facebook pay millions to not only maintain secure websites for users but also keep CEOs safe in real life; cyber criminals still make significant profits off illegal online markets, stealing intellectual property and selling equipment to help others pull of cybercrimes. According to criminology researcher Dr. Mike McGuire cybercrime will generate at least $1.5 trillion in profits in 2018. Bromium worked with Dr. McGuire to break down how profits could reach trillions of dollars and there’s levels to the cybercrime business. While cyber criminals for hire can bring in a modest $30,000 a year, multinational groups can make more than $1 billion annually. With a third of the $1.5 trillion figure stemming from stealing intellectual property and $160 billion in data trading, being extremely cautious about the sites you enter your personal information and where you spend your online dollars is key. Instagram and online shops like Etsy and Overstock has made it simple to purchase items. But when you dive deeper into third party sites and IG promoted deals that are too good to be true, it’s easy to become a victim in this huge cybercrime ocean.

As technology evolves, we need to evolve with it and remember that a lot of money can easily be made doing a lot of corrupt things. When making your holiday purchases only utilize apps from official app stores. Fake apps can contain adware and malware that can steal personal information and redirect users to malicious pages. Double checking the secure level of the online shopping portal you’re about to enter your credit card information is also essential to avoid scams. Make smart online shopping decisions and stay safe from the holiday cyber hackers this year.

Article By: Marcel “The Messenger” Jeremiah