Tips for Secure Shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

November 28, 2014 | By K. Joseph Breheny

CyberMondayTis the season to be jolly, and to do a lot of holiday shopping! It’s an important time for both the shoppers and the retailers, and is also a very risky time due to the threats of cyber criminals.

The day after Thanksgiving in the US has become known as Black Friday. The name has two meaning. Black because shopping malls in the US can be a nightmare to be at with the crush of shoppers, but for the retailers it can determine if they will make a profit for the year, aka being in the black!

The following Monday, December 1st this year, is now known as Cyber Monday. It been promoted to encourage online shopping and safe practices while do so. Unfortunately, this is a time period targeted by cyber criminals.

Data breaches have become all too common for retailers and their point-of-sale (POS) systems. Cyber criminals target POS to loot financial information from the retailers, credit card information of the customers and much more. Last year’s data breach at Target exposed card data during the weeks following Thanksgiving, resulted in over 40 million Debit and Credit card information stolen and the personal information of over 70 million customers

Over the past year, many high profile retailers have had their POS systems breached, including Neiman Marcus, Michaels Store were also found to be victims of such a data breach involving a loss of over 110 million Credit and Debit card information and personal information.

As a consumer, you have to take your security into your own hands to avoid fraud and scams. Here are some tips to ensure safety online.

1. Bogus Websites:
To get financial information, cyber rogues create malicious websites showcasing it like an authenticate website. Check if the website is a legitimate website or not, before handing over your personal and financial information to online frauds.

If emails are from unknown senders, avoid and immediately delete such mails. As you enter any website for that matter, please have check whether the website URL has HTTPS along with it in the address bar before punching in your USER ID and PASSWORD or before sharing your financial information.

There are many illegitimate websites that resemble authenticated domains like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and many more. There are so many new online sites available over the internet that it is really a complex to differentiate which one is legitimate and which one is not.

Most of the malicious websites hosts interesting contests and pose advertisements for unreliable services to attract the attention of the customers, which might ultimately be a malware that is ready to infect the customers’ system.

Always shop from familiar websites and do not be fallen for attractive deals that an unknown website offers.

2. Phishing Websites
Phishing scams involve fake emails that pretend to come from a trustworthy person or organization, sent to gather personal and financial data from potential victims. Most of the scam mails look like it represents authenticated sources, requesting to visit websites that are actually procured by cyber criminals tricking victims into entering and sharing personal information

3. Fake Ads:
Customers are always in the hunt of good deals especially during this holiday season.

Always be skeptical, while choosing deals offered by websites, most specially, those that are from unknown websites. If you are not vigilant, your personal information could easily fall into the hands of hackers lurking on the internet.

Antivirus Software to your rescue!
Keep your antivirus software up to date This can shield you from attractive but malicious emails and banners posing as legitimate advertisements. Comodo Antivirus Software is the best solution for all the malware problems.

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