Online shoppers are being urged to be on their guard as the threat of cyber attacks
in the run-up to Christmas is feared to reach unprecedented levels.
Any individual or organisation can be targetted no matter of size or geography.
As the Christmas rush reaches a peak, bringing with it the biggest cyber threat we’ve
seen, it is vital that shoppers do all they can to prevent themselves becoming the
next cyber attack case.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) warns the anticipated record number
of people looking to buy gifts over the internet this Christmas, coupled with the
advanced techniques being used by cyber criminals, means the risk of shoppers falling
victim has never been greater.
They’ve put together a series of tips to help shoppers stay protected online.
SBRC director, Mandy Haeburn-Little, estimates as much as 80% of cyber-crime can
be prevented by getting the basics right such as updating software, good passwords
and regular system backups.
He said: “But we also want shoppers to be extra vigilant in following some simple
tips to have a happy and troublefree Christmas.”
It is important to keep your personal and financial information safe when buying
online. To keep your details safe you need to look out for three things:
https:// at the start of the address bar. The ‘S’ indicates that it is a secure server
and that your information will be safe.
Padlock icon Some websites will add a padlock icon to the address bar as well ‘https://’
to give a further indication of safety.
Green Address Bar Another indicator some secure websites use is to turn the address
With shoppers using various sites over the internet to buy presents, it will likely
mean a flurry of unexpected emails – such as receipts or links to other websites
– which heightens the threat of leave people unwittingly responding to so-called
Phishing is an attempt to criminally and fraudulently acquire sensitive information
– such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy
site using email. For example, receiving an email asking to update your financial
details and provides a link.
There are easy ways to avoid this type of scam if you remember a few useful tips:
Scam emails typically ask for personal information such as usernames, passwords,
credit card numbers, etc.
Never click on any link to what might seem like a bank, or other type of merchant.
When in doubt, call the institution using the one listed in the phone book, not the
one provided on the email.
Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information
and never save them to your computer.
Don’t click on attachments. Run both anti-virus and anti-spyware applications.
Firewall and privacy protection software are always good to have in place.
Ensure that you’re using a secure website when submitting financial details via your
Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions
Order credit reports on yourself yearly and review them carefully.