How to Shop Safely on Cyber Monday and Beyond

by Lina on November 29th, 2010 in Security Tips.

Cyber Monday, the official start of the online holiday shopping season, is here. Two thirds of computer users plan to shop and / or research online this holiday season. There's little wonder why cyber thieves go into high gear this time of year - they simply follow the money to make the most profits. Surrounded by the comforts of your home, it's easy to lose sights of this. So if you, like many others, try to bypass crowded stores in order to find the perfect gift, access your bank account, or make travel arrangements online this holiday season, remember, the Internet is also a very convenient for attackers looking to get access to personal and financial information of unsuspecting shoppers.

To help you along the way, we have put together a list of what you need to know to safely surf the sales this holiday shopping season - and skip the scams.

  • Make sure you're shopping on a secure site.
    Look for the padlock icon or a URL that starts with https://. That means your transaction is encrypted.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
    If you're not familiar with a particular seller, look for privacy and security seals or research them before you make your purchase.
  • Create lengthy and complex passwords.
    Passwords can be guessed very quickly by hacker programs, so use both upper- and lower case letters as well as numbers when creating passwords or when registering on sites.
  • Maintain your security software essentials to keep malware off your PC.
    Get Ad-Aware and get the power to protect your online security and privacy - so that you can use the Internet how, when, and where you want.
  • Don't make hasty online purchases.
    If you're hesitant to enter your credit card details online, consider using a separate credit card, or use an "e-card" solution that gives you the ability to create a temporary card number to be used just once or with a spending limit.
  • Pay extra attention to your bills and your credit.
    During the holidays, take the time to ensure your financial statements are accurate and that there are no surprise charges on your credit card.
  • Don't Shop in Public (online!)
    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.