The shopping season is coming and if you’re a modern consumer you’re going to be doing at least some of your holiday shopping online. The problem is that some of the most dangerous places on the web aren’t places selling products and services. So while that super special deal on the hottest new toy or gadget might seem hard to resist, you’ll be paying for it time and again if you purchase from a compromised website.
One of the worst things that can happen when you’re using the Internet is for your financial information to be compromised, but that’s exactly what can happen when you use the Internet for purchases. A third-party attacker can gain access to your financial information and wreak havoc on your bank account through malicious or fake websites.
If you plan to do any online shopping this year, it’s important to know how to identify a secure online website. The best way to protect yourself from cyber criminals is to be educated about online shopping threats, and the recourse available to you.
What are fake and malicious websites?
A malicious website is a site that attempts to install malware onto your device for the purpose of stealing personal and financial information.
Fake websites are websites designed to look like legitimate websites, and can be disguised in a myriad of ways- popular online retailers, online banking portals, “mom and pop” e-commerce websites and more. However, these websites are just a scam looking to grab your financial and personal information leaving you with a drained bank account in return.
Ways to Stay Safe When Shopping This Holiday Season
Cybersecurity is a two-pronged approach. While an Internet security suite can catch many of the digital threats out there, it’s also up to you to educate yourself about the other threats that are harder for Internet security suites can’t catch.
- Only use websites with HTTPS, the most secure way of conducting commerce on the Internet. Learn about how to determine a secure connection between a personal device and company website by understanding what SSL certificates are and how to recognize them.
- If a website seems off, looks like it’s installing something or is asking permission to install codecs, you’re better off closing the tab and looking for the content elsewhere.
- Use a VPN when you browse. This encrypts your traffic so even if someone manages to eavesdrop, they’ll just have a bunch of encrypted data. VPNs, or virtual private networks can turn Wi-Fi into secured private connections.
- Always update your applications, most importantly your operating system and your security suite. Hackers use known security exploits, so when you update you’re closing the easiest door into your network.
- Use a secure search engine such as Norton Safe Search. Norton Safe Search actively searches the web for the latest and most malicious security threats and leverages our online community to find compromised websites. Best of all, it’s free to use!
- The gold standard is a full-service Internet security suite. Simple anti-virus programs aren’t enough anymore. A full-service security suite will keep you safe from emerging threats.
While nothing can keep you completely safe, Norton Safe Search, coupled with Norton’s full-service Internet security suite, goes a long way toward keeping you from being an easy target.
Online shopping doesn’t have to be risky. With just a few simple precautions you can keep your family finances safe.