Happy Online Holiday Shopping
With Black Friday fast approaching, cybercriminals are fully aware of the excitement around the massive deals and specials, they are already formulating ever-more creative plans to trick unsuspecting online shoppers into entering their credit card details on unsecured websites, or convincing them to click innocent-looking links that download malicious software onto their devices.
Here are a few tips for staying out of the red this Black Friday:
Tip 1: Think Before You Post Information
Cyberattacks are not just random anymore. They are well-researched and usually architected using information you share online. Personal details like where you work, job title, who your friends are and what you are doing, are all over social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Hackers use these sites to gather intel on unsuspecting victims – this is called Social Engineering.
Tip 2: Keep your Eyes Peeled for Dodgy URLs
Cybercriminals are getting more advanced in their efforts to trick you into entering your financial details on unsecured websites, or convincing you to click on an innocent-looking link that downloads malicious software onto your device. Even if you receive a branded email, from what looks like a legitimate retailer with their logos and fonts, it could be a scam. Always type a retailer’s address into your browser to avoid being redirected to a fake site. And be on the lookout for the all-important https:// (as opposed to http://). The “s” stands for secure – so that one little letter is crucial to your online safety.
Tip 3: Make Use of Alternative (and Safer) Payment Methods
Every time you enter your credit or debit card details into an online form is a chance for those details to be intercepted by cybercriminals. Consider setting up a dedicated online shopping account with strict credit and overdraft limits, with only enough money to buy what you need.
Tip 4: If it seems suspicious, it probably is
Keep track of retailers you’re expecting a shipment from. If you receive an email that contains tracking information from a courier service or retailer you haven’t used, do not click on the tracking URL. This is a malicious link disguised as something familiar. The same goes for attachments – these could contain malicious code. Again, rather type the courier service website in manually to avoid being sent to a fake site.
Tip 5: If You Think You’ve Fallen Victim to Cybercrime – Act Fast
- Report it to the police - There are many cases that go unreported every year. These reports aid in investigations and can help shut down these cybercriminals and their syndicate organizations for good.
- Report it to your bank - Get in touch with your bank as soon as you suspect something irregular is going on and have your card cancelled immediately. Depending on the circumstances, they may even be able to reverse the fraudulent charge and get your cash back.
- Report it to the business you thought you were buying from- They have a vested interest in knowing they are being impersonated online, and are often better resourced in the hunt to track the perpetrators down. They are also familiar with the processes followed in getting suspicious sites blacklisted or shut down.
- Do Not Negotiate - If you find yourself locked out of your computer due to ransomware, it’s likely the attackers will ask you to pay a ransom to give you back control. And they often ask for payment in untraceable currencies like Bitcoin. But once you’ve been identified as a soft target, they’ll probably be back for more. Have a secure computer backup solution in place that will ensure you can recover your lost information easily, without paying a penny.