Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday shopping season is officially here, and if you’re like a lot of people, you’ll be doing a lot of your shopping online. It is important, however, to beware of malicious copycat websites and emails advertising deals that appear to be too good to pass up. A recent CNET article reports that an alarmingly high number of consumers are willing to risk having their data and information stolen if it means they have a chance at a good bargain. This makes the holidays a prime time for cybercriminals to trick people into giving away their information. Don’t be the next victim. A few suggestions to shop safely online and prevent your data from being stolen are as follows:
- Double-check the validity of all websites before downloading anything or inputting any personal information. A good way to spot a fake website is in the URL. An example would be www.target.net or www.targt.com instead of www.target.com. Also, only purchase from sites that follow https protocol.
- Beware of phishing emails that advertise deals that are tempting to jump on, but instead direct you to a malicious website or automatically infect your device with malware. The best ways to spot phishing emails are spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors.
- If you plan on downloading shopping apps, be sure they are only apps from either the official Google or Apple store, and remember, always be suspicious of shopping apps that ask for access to unnecessary information such as contacts or passwords.
While you may not have been exposed to any of these threats in the past, they are out there. According to a study performed by RiskIQ, 5% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday apps found in the app store are malicious, and for the top 10 retailers of Black Friday last year, there were over 6,000 malicious apps that offered fake deals. If you have any questions or concerns about safe online shopping practices this holiday season feel free to give us a call at 703-790-0400, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on our website at www.optfinity.com.