Cyber Monday security tips from IBM are effective safety measures during online shopping festivals

The increased volume in transactions means that consumers have to be extra alert for malicious activity that spikes during the sales.

Cyber Monday is the day that sees the largest volumes of online purchases in the US every year. The increased volume in transactions means that consumers have to be extra alert for scams, phishing attacks, and other kinds of malicious activity that spike during the sales. A common modus operandi by cybercriminals is to send spoofed emails that appear to be tracking orders. On clicking the link to tracking the package, a ransomware gets installed on the system, that encrypts the files till a fees is paid to the hackers.

IBM Security has released a list of safety tips for Cyber Monday, but the tips are as relevant and applicable during all online shopping events, and basically any time as well.

Caleb Barlow, Vice President, IBM Security, says, "Cybercriminals are trying to entice consumers to click suspicious links by offering deals and tapping into their curiosity. It’s all about following some security basics to keep shoppers safe this shopping season."

Consumers are advised to be aware of unexpected tracking emails. Cross check the originating email id with previous emails to make sure it is from the actual site. If you suspect that you have received a mail for a package that you have not ordered, do not click on any mails within the email. Buyers are advised to be wary of links to coupon codes, and copy-paste the codes themselves instead of clicking on links to copy. If a url has to be clicked through to access the code, hover over the url to identify the target website before proceeding.

Consumers are also advised to use credit cards over debit cards, because credit cards have more safety checks in place. This means that users will not be unduly affected even if a credit card is compromised, but the damage can be more if a debit card is compromised. Although it means more usernames and passwords to keep track of, consumers are advised not to use the same login credentials across shopping web sites.

Shoppers who do not want to put their employers at risk, should use personal email addresses for credentials and transactions. Having different passwords for professional and personal email addresses is a necessary security measure. In fact, shoppers are better off using a special email address created just for use for online shopping platforms. Users are advised not to save credit card information on the browser or the website of the retailer. Although saving the information allows for faster shopping and speedy transactions, it increases the exposure to security risks. Consumers are encouraged to use trusted applications only, and use a one time credit card available at banks to process transactions with unknown sources.

For password reset questions, it is a good idea to come up with creative questions, lie in the answers, or choose questions that are based on opinions, and not personal information that someone who knows you can find out.

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