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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals coming in fast, it seems there is a new danger that shoppers should be aware of.

The latest reports suggest that cybercriminals are now after shoppers of this coming holiday season by preparing malware and spam campaigns meant for catching out shoppers and even retailers during this highshopping season.

According to security company iSight, there is one gang that has already updated its sophisticated malware in a bid to target better tills in stores. There are an increased number of spam and phishing emails associated with bargain deals, an indicator that activity in this area is high. Some criminal groups have even gone further to create fake copies of popular apps used for shopping so as to steal the financial info of users.

Perfect timing

There is no better timing for these online criminals as they are aware that many stores will be lining up super discounted deals during this Thanksgiving holiday, which makes it easy to target them with such fakes.

According to iSight’s senior director Stephen Ward, the top retailing brands in the country have been alerted to this threat, and they are currently busy scanning their networks to ensure that they are not affected by the activities of this “highly sophisticated” malware.

This malware cancreep unnoticeably into thepoint of sale equipment and collect personal data of the person using the tool to make a payment. “It’s a Swiss army knife of all kinds, and it can be used to execute any malicious activity,” Ward said.

This news has prompted the U.S. Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center to send out a warning about the upcoming “2015 hacking season.”

Mr. Ward said that his entity has been tracking the group behind this sophisticated malware for quite some time now, but it seems the gang has updated its application in readiness for the Christmas shopping holiday season such that it cannot be easily caught by traditional antivirus systems.

“The people behind this malware seem to be very well-versed with how security technology works as well as how the industry operates,” Ward said. “But we are stealing Christmas from them [the bad guys],” he added.

In a separate report by ThreatMetrix, an anti-fraud company, it is noted that online retailers have been facing threats from high-tech criminals for quite some time, and the trend had already jumped 25%, a figure the company expects to increase during this high shopping holiday season. It was also revealed that the highly targeted parties were companies.

Spammers are expected to be on a high alert this holiday and as a user, make sure you stay alert as well. Keep to your senses when browsing the web and avoid buying from unsolicited emails.