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Online sales jumped in the 2004 holiday season, with the value of the business 88 per cent up on 2003. Transaction volume grew 39 per cent over the year, according to a study by net infrastructure firm VeriSign.

VeriSign processed approximately $12bn in online sales between 1 November and 31 December, compared to $6.4bn in the same period in 2003. Transaction volumes at games stores almost doubled while online digital music sales rose in numbers by 59 per cent. Meanwhile, consumer electronics saw a 27 per cent fall in transaction volumes.

The fifth edition of the VeriSign's Internet Security Intelligence Briefing (ISIB) - which cover the period from October 2004 to January 2005 - concludes that increased customer confidence in shopping online and increased access in broadband are leading to a boom in consumer ecommerce. The number of active VeriSign SSL certificates worldwide increased, with more than 15 per cent growth in 2004 over 2003.

Although consumer confidence and infrastructure spending may be buoyant, threats remain. The US remains one of the highest ranking sources of fraud in terms of transaction volume, along with Romania and Vietnam, according to VeriSign. The net infrastructure firm also reports that worm propagation attempts, using vulns such as “MS-SQL version overflow”, account for the majority of security events it monitors. During Q4 2004, VeriSign counted more than 680,000 “MS-SQL version overflow” attempts and over 375,000 “MS-PCT Client Hello overflow” attempts. ®

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