December 22nd, 2017
The cyber threat is always there whether you are business or a person who loves to shop online. Learn here how to stay safe when shopping online this Christmas and beyond.
With Christmas round the corner, you must be busy in finding best deals and coupons online. After all, it is the best time to make the most of the biggest shopping extravaganza of the year. The Christmas shopping season starts with the coming of Black Friday and lasts till Cyber Monday.
And it is a Christmas for hackers and online scammers, too. They are more active during the holidays as they have plenty of online holiday shoppers to target at. They have a lot more credit cards and other personal info available for stealing. Then, shoppers are likely to click all the links promising fabulous deals without caring about their authenticity. The “hacking” job is even easier when people use same passwords for their FB, bank and other accounts. This is why “Tis the season…for fraud”.
Therefore, you need to be careful while doing online shopping this Christmas. All you need to follow some basic cyber security rules to keep the unpleasant incidents at a bay. Here’s how…
Cyber Security Tips for Online Shopping for Christmas
Know if a New App is Safe:
Are you downloading a new mobile app for coupons, deals or shopping? If so, you must be careful. This is because over 32,000 fraudulent mobile apps are floating online which claim to be associated with leading online retailers. These apps make users to enter credit card info, Facebook and Gmail password or download “malware” to invade personal information or block devices for ransom. Therefore, avoid downloading the shopping mobile app randomly.
Always download mobile apps, be it Android or iOS, from the official app stores of the E-commerce retailer. Before downloading the app, make sure to check the app permissions and other info being asked by the app. Avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores as malicious apps are placed over there by masking them as “real brand”.
Shop Online via Trusted Sites with SSL Certificate:
If a website has HTTP in URL bar, for example, http://www.abc1213.com, it means the information you provide to the website will be in a plain text and therefore can be read by any hacker looking to target you. HTTPS, on the other hand, is the secure version of HTTP, where all the information is securely encrypted.
Avoid online shopping using public Wi-Fi networks:
Wi-Fi networks are free, convenient and easily accessible. But such benefits shouldn’t come at the cost of your cyber security. Using public wireless network for transaction or sending crucial information can make you prone to a major security threat.
According to a Norton Wi-Fi Risk Report, hackers leverage unsecured or poorly secured Wi-Fi router by using special tools to scan the router. This way, they figure out weak passwords or even security loop holes. Once the hackers find the vulnerability, they use “widely available tools to get in between points A and B to intercept any information — such as your bank account credentials, credit card numbers, or social media logins — that passes between the two.”
If you are using public Wi-Fi, make sure to use a VPN, which encrypts the info passing into or out of your device while you’re using Wi-Fi.
Always Use Strong Passwords:
This tip may sound basic (or unnecessary), but most people still use predictable passwords like “ABCD” or “12345678”. No wonder that 2 out of every 5 people using simple passwords have experienced hacking and password stealing. Even worse, more than 60% cyber security incidents occur due to the use of weak passwords.
Don’t be the next victim! Make your password a mix of numbers, letters and special characters. And change your password frequently. Above all, don’t use the same password for multiple sites.
Enable Security Alerts for All your Financial Transactions:
Before shopping online, make sure to log on to your net banking and enable your text alerts and email alerts as well for every transaction you make online. This is useful in case of “malicious transactions” made through your cards without your knowledge. If you see any unusual charges exempted from your account, report them to your bank as soon as possible to get a refund.
Prefer Credit Cards over Debit Cards:
The credit card is better than a debit card when it comes to online shopping. It ensures a minimal damage if someone manages to get your financial information online. This is because credit cards have spending limits. Besides, the consumer protection laws have different regulations for debit and credit cards. For example, the personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card is not more than $50. But you can be liable for $500 or more with debit card, determined by how quickly you report the scam.So these are the tips you should use to have a safe online shopping during Christmas.