Tripwire security researchers offer practical cybersecurity advice for consumers
Cyber Monday is the heaviest online shopping day in the United States, with last year’s sales exceeding $2 billion within 24 hours. Unfortunately, for bargain-hungry consumers, the holiday shopping season is a bonanza for cyber criminals.
“The holiday season is the perfect time for attackers to target online shopping sites, since the increased traffic means more potential targets,” said Lamar Bailey, director of research and development at Tripwire. “Consumers need to be extra cautious when they shop online. The good news is that anyone can dramatically reduce the risk of being victimized by following a few basic security practices.”
Tripwire’s team of security researchers recommends that consumers take the following precautions when shopping online this holiday season :
- Beware of the siren song of a great deal by avoiding shopping websites that offer prices that seem too good to be true. Cyber criminals frequently use extremely low prices on popular items to draw in potential victims.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card. If your credit card data is used for something nefarious, it’s easier to resolve issues with a credit card company than with your bank.
- Take advantage of the alert features on your credit card, which can warn you of abnormal account activity. Alerts are helpful any time during the year, but they are especially useful during busy holiday shopping seasons.
- Never purchase merchandise from a website that does not use secure HTTPS for the purchase process. Check the address line of your browser during the purchase process; it should start with HTTPS.
- Make sure your computer has the most current security software patches installed. Once a security patch is available, cyber criminals have all the information they need to attack devices that have not been updated.
“Online shoppers should also be especially careful of emails they receive,” said Lane Thames, security researcher at Tripwire. “Phishing campaigns that try to dupe consumers into giving away personal and financial information tend to rise during the holiday season.”
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