Thanks to the convenience of home delivery, there will be more online shopping this year than ever and more need for cyber security. E-commerce sales in the United States totaled more than $185 billion last year, up $45B from 2019 and setting the hi-mark once again.
Those numbers could reach higher than $220B this year, but cyberattackers are also gearing up for a record season.
Whether it is Black Friday or Cyber Monday, protect yourself while searching for something for that special someone. Shop with reliable retailers or use a simple reference tool like Google Transparency Report to ensure you’re on a secure website.
Don’t Go There
Take your time, employ proper security measures, look for the padlock icon in the address bar, and ensure the URL reads like the business. If you look up and see you have accidentally ended up on goggle.com instead of google.com, you should be aware of “typosquatting” or “cybersquatting,” which may lead to a dummy site with a nefarious purpose.
Trust your instincts. If you see something that does not look right, like a link to Nettflix.com, you know something’s up.
Here are tips from online security companies and retailers for online shopping:
- Choose strong passwords – not your name and birthdate, for example
- Utilize two-factor authentication
- Read reviews
- Use anti-malware
- Be suspicious of low-resolution images, poor grammar, and misspellings
- Look for contact info on websites
Is It Safe to Use My Phone for Online Shopping?
Smartphones will make about 50 percent of online purchases this year. According to McAfee’s Consumer Security Mindset Mobile Edition, 49 percent of users do not use mobile security software, which leaves them at risk for smartphone-specific cyber attacks.
McAfee also points out that more than half of U.S. consumers do not know if their phones are secure. Your personal information is on your apps as well as the phone itself, so do not give cyberattackers the gift that keeps on giving.
In addition to previously mentioned tips, use a virtual private network (VPN) offered by most online security companies.
Here are additional tips for shopping with your phone:
- Shop from your home network
- Make sure you download apps from a trusted source
- Backup your information
- Lock your device
- Pay attention to privacy settings
- Keep the device and apps up-to-date
“The April 2021 edition of McAfee’s Threats Report found that mobile malware grew 118% from Q3 to Q4 2020, with common attacks including malicious apps, email, and text phishing, along with network spoofing attacks. ”
McAfee Corp. Labs
What’s Going to Happen This Year?
Looking at data from Adobe Analytics Reviewing 2020’s Holiday Shopping Season reveals a predictable surge in online shopping in the U.S. considering the impact of Covid-19.
For the first time last year, there were no online shopping days (November through Christmas) with fewer than $1B spent. Retailers began dropping prices by 19 percent just before Cyber 5 Weekend (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) on popular toys and televisions. Computer prices dropped 29 percent by Black Friday; therefore, keep an eye out for similar trends this year.
Just make sure the items are in stock. You take all that time choosing the right gift, utilizing the latest internet security, and visiting multiple websites. Put a bow on it by completing the final step to confirm the item will arrive at your doorstep.
From all of us at LMS and GEM, we wish you safe shopping and happy holidays.