Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Symantec: Year End Holiday Online Shopping Tips

The year-end holiday season is upon us with school holidays already well underway. While most of us consider the holiday season to spend precious time with family and friends, we will also spend a considerable amount of money online. The growth in online spending is increasing globally, and with this rise in online shopping comes an increase in cybercrime.

As more people go online worldwide, individuals are increasingly becoming targets for fraudsters and cyber-criminals. According to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report from Symantec, cybercrime claims 556 million victims globally each year. Both businesses and consumers are victims of malware, phishing and malvertising threats.

There are simple ways to stay safe online to ensure an enjoyable shopping experience online. The following are five tips to stay safe online:

1. Look for an HTTPS and/or padlock in your browser address bar before submitting personal information on a website. A website with “https://” before the address indicates that it is secured with a SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate, a digital computer file (or small piece of code) that has two specific functions – authentication and verification; and data encryption.

Just as a passport may only be issued by a country’s government officials, an SSL certificate is most reliable when issued by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA). The CA has to follow very strict rules and policies about who may or may not receive an SSL certificate. When you have a valid SSL certificate from a trusted CA, there is a higher degree of trust by your customers, clients or partners.

2. When the browser address bar is lit up green, the identity of that website has been strictly validated.

3. Look for a trust mark, such as the (the Check Mark) Norton Secured Seal. It proves that the website is legitimate, and not a spoofed website.

4. If an offer in an online ad or an email sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You may be tempted to click, but you’d be wise to junk them instead.

5. Have Strong Passwords and Keep them Unique.  “Cooldude” is not an acceptable password. Pay attention to the passwords for your email, social networking, and online banking accounts. Keep them as unique as you can:
At least 8 characters
Random mixture of characters upper and lower case, numbers, punctuation and symbols
Use words not found in dictionary
Never use the same password twice
Change your password every 6 months

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