The company has produced two reports, one relevant to the US and the other to the UK, and points out that while the US spent US$6.2 billion over the Black Friday weekend in 2018, an increase of 23.6% over 2017, UK consumers splashed out £1.49 billion, a rise of 7.2%.
"Bad holiday actors will capitalise by using the brand names of leading e-tailers, as well as the poor security habits of consumers," report authors Steven Pon and Jordan Herman wrote.
"They’ll fool shoppers looking for Black Friday deals, sales, and coupons by creating fake mobile apps and landing pages. These malicious assets trick users into downloading malware, using compromised sites, or giving up their login credentials and credit card information."
Domain infringements and phishing events for each of these e-tailers were examined, as also the appearance of their branded terms alongside "Black Friday", "Cyber Monday", "Christmas" and "Boxing Day" in blacklisted URLs.
Following this, 1000 US consumers and an equal number in the UK were asked about their online shopping habits.
Much of the potential damage came from mobile apps that were built to fool users into giving away their credit card details, the authors said.
"Some fake apps contain adware and ad-clicks or malware that can steal personal information or lock the device until the user pays a ransom," they added.
"Others encourage users to log in using their Facebook or Gmail credentials, potentially exposing sensitive personal information."
They observed a 20% increase in the total of blacklisted apps; the number of blacklisted apps rose from 1.95% to 2% of the total. And of all the apps that could be found by using the search terms “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday”, “Boxing Day”, or “Christmas”, 951 or 2% were blacklisted.
Similar threats also existed on the Web, RiskIQ said, pointing out that Adobe had predicted the online holiday spend would cross US$140 billion, with Cyber Monday setting a record of US$9.4 billion.
"A query of the branded terms of 20 Fortune 100 companies in RiskIQ’s domain infringement detection once revealed 37,000 probable instances of domain infringement over a two-week period or 1850 incidents per brand," Pon and Herman said.
The RiskIQ reports also have plenty of tips on how consumers can protect themselves against these threats. They are available here after free registration.