Christmas cheer will be upon us soon. It is the time to do some Christmas shopping for gifts that will be exchanged or given between friends and also family members. While we are having a great time buying gifts or trading gifts online, it is also a great hunting season for cyber criminals out to get their hand on your confidential information.
Online shopping is the new in-thing as there is no need for us to join the mad crowd or traffic rush at major shopping malls. We can get out things just with the click of a mouse. Knowing how well cyber criminals work to dupe victims, we at Kaspersky Lab work hard to ensure that those cyber criminals will not get their hand on your confidential data.
Here are some of the tips to stay safe online:
- Know what you are buying and whom youre buying it from
Fraudsters can setup e-commerce stores under any name to phish for your credit card or bank account information. Locate and note phone numbers and also the physical addresses of vendors in case there is a problem with your transaction or your bill. If possible, do a simple search up on the company first before committing your purchase. DO NOT give out your credit card details over pop-up chat box or emails as legitimate online sellers will NEVER ask for information via chat boxes or emails.
- Make sure your transaction is encrypted and your privacy is protected
- Keep your computer up-to-date and secure
Be sure to have good anti-malware software installed on your computer and make sure that it is updated with the latest databases. This will ensure that you are always protected against viruses and data thefts malwares. Remember also to install the latest patches for your operating system. The patches are released for a reason. Remember also to update all 3rd party applications in your computer to the latest version. Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 has a feature call vulnerability scan to help you to find out what application that is at a vulnerable status.
- Use a dedicated credit card specifically for online shopping
Use a dedicated credit card with a low credit limit for online shopping. This will limit your losses should your credit card information be compromised. It will be easier also for you to dispute the transaction and also to temporarily withhold payments during a dispute. NEVER use a debit card as it is linked directly to your bank account.
- Use strong passwords and security features
It will be very easy for malicious hackers to crack weak passwords and hijack your account at e-commerce sites. Make it a habit to use a different password for different online store as many people always use the same password for everything they do online. In case you are afraid that you will forget the password, write it down on a piece of paper and keep the paper safe.
When choosing a password, here are some guidelines to consider:
- Dont use passwords that are based on birthdays or pets name or your IC number or your phone number as those are the first few combination that a hacker will go for
- Dont use any words from the dictionary as those can be easily cracked by the software tools
- Use both lowercase and capital letters
- Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters
Finally always keep a record of your purchase and copies of order confirmation pages and compare them to your bank statements. E-commerce site always allow a print out of the confirmation pages either to printer or in PDF formats. In the event there is discrepancy with your statements, investigate it thoroughly and report it to your bank immediately.
Remember, it pays to be careful online. Stay secure and protect yourself with the above tips from Kaspersky Lab in conjunction with the protection afforded by our product.