But more and more Canadians are at risk of having malware re-gifted to them.
E-commerce is on the rise in Canada. According to a recent survey by TD Bank titled Anatomy of an Online Shopper, more than seven in ten (72 per cent) of the Canadians surveyed, do at least some of their holiday shopping on the web.
However, as the online industry grows, so do the number of cyber criminals who are continuously finding ways to take advantage of unaware users and unsecured processes.
How can you prevent their unwanted gifts? For starters, simply being aware of the most common online threats, such as spam/junk mail, phishing and adware, can guarantee a safer shopping experience.
But if you really want to see everything through to the end, here are eight proactive steps to help safeguard your online shopping security and privacy:
Connect to a secure network – avoid using open or public Wi-Fi. There’s a bigger chance for attackers to intercept your connection and obtain your access details such as passwords, and usernames.
Bookmark websites – to avoid typing in the wrong address, always bookmark your most trusted shopping sites.
Avoid opening unusual emails and links – to the untrained eye, distinguishing a valid email from a fake one could be a little difficult. If you want to make sure, look out for outrageous subject lines that come with “offers” that seem too good to be true. If you’re still unsure, you can double check with an official source.
Think before you click – as mentioned above, ads could be more than just pesky pop-ups. Be wary of ads that come from sites you visit, including social media sites, as malicious ads can be tailored to compel a click that can infect your system with malware.
Update security patches and browsers when prompted– keeping browsers and apps updated can lessen the risk of vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
Read your EULA (end-user license agreement) – this may seem like tiresome reading but if you want to beef up your security and avoid unwanted privacy issues, a EULA should inform if the app or service monitors your online activities, or if your information is given to third parties.
Make sure the order checkout is encrypted – hackers can easily exploit vulnerabilities to obtain personal details like your password or other information. If you’re going to shop online, do business with sites that use encrypted payment forms.
Keep track of your bank or credit statements – to ensure no fraudulent charges are being posted to your accounts, check statements regularly for any unverified transactions.
“Now that data breaches and incidents of hacking and identity theft are becoming more common, online shoppers should protect themselves against likely attacks that could threaten their privacy,” said Scott Perry, Director of Marketing, Trend Micro. “There are a number of different methods that can be used to invade a user’s privacy, and sooner or later, an unaware user is bound to run into threats such as phishing, online scams, spam, Internet fraud, and malicious URLs.”
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