How Internet Shoppers Can Stay Safe On Black Friday

The biggest shopping day of the year is upon us. PayPal predicts that Black Friday will start on Thanksgiving with Internet users shopping from their couches right after the turkey feast ends. If you’re one of the many who will be shopping online this Black Friday, there are a few things you need to know.

This past April Epsilon, one of the largest email marketing companies, announced that its database had been breached. Epsilon said that 2% of its clients were affected, including major retailers like Best Buy and Target. This was a phishing attack, the same kind that’s bound to appear on Black Friday.

Brendan Ziolo, VP at Kindsight, an Internet security provider, predicts that scammers will be launching spearphishing attacks and sending fake emails from retailers. How will you protect yourself from potential scams? Here are four key tips from Kindsight.

Stay alert for phishing emails – Keep a watchful eye on any “deal emails” you receive that appear to be from legitimate retailers. Look for poor grammar or misspellings in the email and unusual URLs. If you open a suspicious email by accident, don’t click on any links or open any attachments. Go directly to the retailer’s website.

Search safely when seeking deals – Hackers can use SEO techniques or even buy web ads to make their fake sites that distribute malware appear higher in search results for terms that shoppers would be searching on such as “Black Friday deals”. Stick to recognized retailers when shopping online this season.

Download apps from trusted app stores – Mobile shopping apps are all the rage these days. When downloading a shopping app to help you on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, bear in mind that Android malware usually comes disguised as legitimate applications. So only download apps from reputable web sites that you trust. Android malware is up 472% since July of this year.

Update your security software and other applications – Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in outdated security software, operating systems, applications and plug-ins. Before you start your holiday shopping online, make sure all of your software is up-to-date so you can safely surf the Web.

Make sure you update your browser to improve security (and speed!) and only use ultra-secure passwords on your accounts.

Or, you could always leave your house and hit the stores. It might look something like this, though.

Either way, you’ve been warned.

Images via MyBlack-Friday.com and DroidDog.com.

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