It’s Cyber Monday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year! While you’re shopping, you might want to take a look at these top tips from Forbes to keep yourself and your friends safe – spread the word and remember friends don’t let friends hand over credit card details to cyber criminals.
- Make sure your computer is patched and up to date. Your operating system (Windows or Mac OS X for example) should be updated to the latest version and you should make sure your web browser and major applications are fully up to date. This will help prevent malware being installed on your computer without your permission.
- Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail from AmazingShopping.tld offering you 70% off an iPad it probably won’t go well for you. We all like a good deal, but be a little cynical and remember if something sounds to good to be true, it usually is.
- People lie on the Internet. Really. If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from your bank or from a common provider like Amazon don’t use the link but rather go directly to the website by typing it in to your browser. If you are really unsure you can call the bank/provider but get their contact details directly from their site – don’t trust the ones in an e-mail.
- Configure your web browser help you stay safe. Whether you use Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer they each have features to detect scam sites and malicious code.Check these controls are enabled to prevent you visiting a nasty page. Some endpoint security suites also have browser protection capabilities.
- Use a credit card, not debit. Credit cards have more insurance by default than debit cards so if a criminal does steal your details you are far more likely to get your money back. Double check the terms and conditions with your bank before taking advantage of those deals. You could also look at alternative providers like PayPal. Be aware that some secure payment schemes where you enter a pin or password when you buy have terms that waiver the responsibility in the event of fraud so you take the hit – double check and save yourself some money.
- Use websites that support encryption. A website where you log in or share financial information should start with ‘https://’ and should have a padlock icon. If this is not present the information being sent is not encrypted and may be intercepted by third parties who steal your information. Be aware though, some cyber criminals also encrypt their websites so you need to both check for the ‘https://’ and be aware of the legitimacy of the brand you are dealing with.
- Ask your friends and check with other Internet users. If you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of a website or a provider try searching for them on Google. Have others dealt with them successfully? Have your friends and family heard of them? There is safety in numbers when it comes to shopping online.
- Run good endpoint security software including anti-virus. SophosLabs sees over 250,000 new pieces of malicious code every day circulating on the Internet and decent security software can help filter out the majority of these before they get anywhere near your data.
- Give a quick thought to password security. A number of these providers will store your financial information or passwords and whilst they mean well they might loose this information (or have it stolen from them). Make sure you use a different password on each website so that if one provider is hacked criminals can’t make it in to your entire digital life, just one part of it.
- Backup. If it all goes wrong you will want to make sure you can recover your data and easily cancel your cards with the bank. Some malicious code once installed will hold your data to ransom and the damage can’t be undone. So why not just prepare in advance and press that little backup button just in case things go wrong.
CREDIT: James Lyne, Contributor, Forbes.com; http://www.forbes.com/sites/jameslyne/2013/12/02/dont-be-robbed-on-cyber-monday/