Monday, December 3, 2012

Five Tips for Safe Cyber Shopping

The holiday season is all about convenience especially if you don't like to deal with the people and crowds at the mall. That's where Cyber Shopping comes in. According the National Cyber Security Alliance this year's online retail shopping sales figures are projected to be over $68 billion. Royal Purple even got on board this year and ran a Cyber Monday special!

Throughout the remainder of the holiday season retailers will continue to run online and social media promotions to entice the shopper to spend at their store. But with the convenience comes the risk of exposing yourself to cyber criminals via your home computer, laptop or mobile device. Here are a few tips to keep your personal information safe and your holiday season Merry.

  • Safe and secure shopping - Install security software or apps on your device. In the last six months over 60% smart phone owners who shopped online have not safeguarded their device from viruses or malware. For computers and laptops this can programs from companies such as Norton, Symantec and Kapersky. Some internet providers will offer free security software as part of their service. Most computer security software is also available for mobile. Lookout and BullGuard are also good for tablets, etc.
  • How accessible are you? - You have everything you need at your fingertips or at the push of a button, but how much are you risking? Cyber criminals are out there seeking personal and business records to access. According to a study conducted by the NCSA, 57% using mobile devices keep a list of personal contacts on their unsecured device unwittingly allowing access to not only you, but your circle of friends and business acquaintances.
  •  The best deal ever! - We all love a good deal, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be particularly wary of deals sent via social media and mobile that doesn't allow you to hover over the link to see where it directs before you click on it.
  • Use Wi-Fi wisely - If you can avoid it, do not use public Wi-Fi when shopping online.  This includes unsecured wireless networks and hotspots. Cyber criminals know that nearly 60 percent of Wi Fi users access unsecured hotspots via their mobile devices. If you must use an open network, be sure you are using "Private Browsing" on your device. Using a 3G/4G connection to access the web directly on your phone is safer than an unsecured wireless network when on your mobile device. 
  • You're SOL if it's not SSL - Before you buy make sure the site you are shopping on has an URL address that begins with http or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted and secure. The lack of SSL is a sure sign that the store is not a reputable one. 
Have you had any Cyber shopping negative or positive you want to share with us? Anything from hassle free returns, favorite sites to shop or if your information was compromised by a cybercriminal? How did you handle it and what advice would you give to others?

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