By: Sajag Chikarsal

How can online shoppers protect themselves this holiday season?

The holiday season means different things to a lot of people. For some, it’s a time for family and extravagant meals. For others, it’s a time for charity and giving more than your best to your partner. Yet for others still...it’s time to shop. Black Friday is once again upon us. Users beware! There is more harm than good that can be done from clicking on what appears to be a good deal. During this time of the year, the internet runs amok with an increase of phishing and scam websites looking to exploit your consumer instincts.

Zscaler ThreatLabZ has been monitoring a subset of opt-in data to discover a correlation between shopping activity and scams. As an effect of increased shopping behavior, we've observed a steady number of scams clicked on by users. Scammers take notice of trending topics as well and consumer’s impaired judgement to cast a wide net of phishing, fraud, and scam attacks meant to capitalize on the shopping season. Whether you are using a mobile device or your home PC, the uptick in shopping trends remains relevant.

The Zscaler ThreatLabZ team is working around the clock to ensure that our customers do not fall prey to such malicious activity. We highly recommend that all online shoppers exercise extreme caution and follow our holiday season shopping security checklist:

  • Inspect the source of emails with enticing shopping deals. Be wary of any suspicious attachments
  • Steer clear of unofficial mobile application stores
  • Ensure HTTPS/secure connections to online retailers and banking sites
  • Check the authenticity of the URL or website address before clicking on a link
  • Stay away from e-mailed invoices - this is often a social engineering technique used by cyber criminals
  • Do not use unsecured public WiFi for shopping
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible especially on sensitive accounts such as those used for banking
  • Always ensure that your operating system and web browser have the latest security patches installed
  • Use browser add-ons like Adblock Plus to block popups and potential malvertisements
  • Backup your documents and media files
  • Review the Identity Theft Guide and FAQ from the Federal Trade Commission.

Wishing you all a very happy holiday season! To read the full article, click here.

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