New figures show that web attacks increased in the run up to Christmas, compromising firms’ business data and mailing lists.

According to Network Box, the frequency of online attacks grew “dramatically” this month, with 57 per cent of all threats attributed to phishing, compared to 28.3 per cent in November.

The greatest source of all viruses and spam was Brazil (20 per cent), followed by the US (seven per cent), Korea (five per cent), India (four per cent) and China (three per cent).

Simon Heron, internet security analyst at Network Box, said the festive season is when online systems are traditionally more vulnerable, which increases the likelihood of attacks.

“[With] a higher proportion of shopping done online [and] more money spent than at any other time of year, Christmas offers rich pickings for phishers,” he said.

Mr Heron added that attacks on online systems are likely to continue throughout the sales season in January.

Bill Unrue, president of online identity protection firm Anonymizer, recently urged firms to take steps to protect themselves from online threats that could compromise the security of their consumer lists and mailing lists.

Posted by Matthew Collins, Technical Director – IT Data Cleaning, Hygiene, Analytics, Databases