You already know that there are numerous scams circulating around during this holiday season, now it’s time for you to stay safe and protect your computer as you browse and buy on the Web. Lavasoft has compiled the ultimate Christmas online shopping tip list, just for you....
Avoid Phishing Attacks
Before typing your username and password to enter a site, make sure the website address is correct. Do not click on links from e-mails you receive. Microsoft acknowledged in October that over 10,000 Live Hotmail accounts were compromised by a phishing scam.
Don’t Trust “Scareware”
Do not click on advertisements claiming you might be infected with a virus. Rogue ads recently started popping up on sites like The New York Times that purport you have a virus only to trick you into downloading malware. Rely on your system anti-virus for this.
Beware Who You Friend
Fake profiles have become very popular on social networking sites like Facebook. Holiday time is an excuse for people to purport they want to get back in touch. Protect the privacy of your profile by rejecting anyone you do not know. Do not post your full birth date including the year.
Don’t Shop Using Public Computers
If buying something online, use your own computer. Don’t use public computers while on vacation at hotels or airports. Public computers can have keyloggers that record your information as you type it.
Create Complex Passwords
When creating passwords at stores, use upper and lower case with numbers. Use at least seven characters and don’t choose a word from a dictionary. Passwords can be guessed very quickly by hacker programs. If you need help remembering all your different passwords, use a Password Vault or Manager to secure them all.
Always Update Definitions
Anti-malware programs such as anti-virus or anti-spyware can only detect malware for which they have definitions. Download the latest definitions whenever they are available to prevent brand new attacks.
Install Latest Software Upgrades
Upgrade your operating system, web browsers, and media applications with the latest versions. Hackers are always looking for ways to create new holes in existing software so they can steal your data. Software vendors patch these holes with upgrades. A recent banking Trojan stole money after infecting web browsers.
Don’t Give Personal Information Over Live Chat
When shopping online you might see a Live Chat window appear letting you ask questions to a customer representative. Never give them your credit card number or other personal details.
Use Onetime Credit Cards
If you aren’t familiar with a store, use a virtual credit card that expires after one use. Some websites masquerade as shops but really just steal your credit card numbers.
Protect Your Identity
Do not keep unprotected copies of your identity on your computer. Most people have typed their Social Security Number into an application or credit card number into an e-mail but forgot it was saved in their computer. Use Identity Finder Free or manually search your computer to find and protect anything that could be used to commit identity fraud if seen by a hacker.
Remember to always stay secure and a step ahead of the cyber criminals this holiday season!