Posted November 10, 2013 by Carol Martin in Finance

Experts warn of cyber threats during peak online shopping season

Shoppers typically associate vacation shopping with lengthy lines, crowded stores and overpriced goods. In recent years, numerous have turned to e-commerce as an less difficult option &ndash holiday purchasing with no the headache. This year e-commerce sales are projected to attain $ 262 billion, a 13-percent boost over 2012.

This development is due, in component, to the rising popularity of on-line &ldquoshopping holidays&rdquo like Cyber Monday, which is celebrated annually the Monday following Thanksgiving and accounts for more on the internet sales than any other day of the year. Final year, Cyber Monday sales reached $ 1.46 billion &ndash a record for online spending in one day.

Hampering celebration of this stress-cost-free option to in-shop buying is the rapid development of cybercrime. Cyber thieves are to blame for $ 113 billion in customer monetary losses in the final 12 months. That&rsquos sufficient money to host the London 2012 Olympics almost 10 instances more than. An equally alarming statistic is the increasing typical loss per victim, which doubled from 2012 to 2013 to $ 298.

In spite of the aforementioned dangers, many on the internet shoppers are unaware of the dangers related with on the web purchasing and don&rsquot think they&rsquoll turn into one of the 556 million annual victims. Forty-eight percent of smartphone and tablet customers do not take even the simple precautions such as making use of passwords, installing safety computer software or backing up files from their mobile devices.

&ldquoAs the popularity of on the web purchasing continues to skyrocket, so do the possibilities for hackers to steal individual information,&rdquo says Bob Bunge, professor in the College of Engineering and Info Sciences at DeVry University and consultant at the William Factory Tiny Company Incubator in Tacoma, Wash. &ldquoOnline shoppers need to have to be conscious of the dangers linked with e-commerce and take proactive methods to defend themselves.&rdquo

Bunge offers the following tips for customers to defend themselves from cyber attacks:

* Enhance password strength: Weak and ineffective passwords allow identity theft. The initial rule of password building is to go long. Quick passwords can be uncovered by higher-speed applications constructed to steal password combinations.

* Ditch the debit cards: Debit cards are the least safe alternative for e-commerce purchases. PayPal and credit cards offer much better customer protections like dispute resolution and fraud prevention.

* Use the most secure network achievable: Wired networks are usually preferable to wireless. If a wired network is not an alternative, make positive to use a secure wireless network that calls for an encryption key. Be specially wary of accessing public Wi-Fi services at places like airports and coffee shops.

* Don&rsquot shop personal finance details: Don&rsquot store credit card particulars online. Storing any payment data on-line exponentially increases the probability of a cyber attack.

* Shop on reputable sites: Scammers usually start fake URL&rsquos with names of trustworthy businesses to lure customers in. To avoid accidently clicking on an infected website, appear for the SSL certificate and ensure the internet site begins with https:// and has a padlock icon.

&ldquoCyber Monday is the Super Bowl of on the web theft,&rdquo says Bunge. &ldquoWhile shoppers should stick to these guidelines all year long, they should remain further vigilant throughout the holidays to stay away from the elevated threat of falling victim to cybercrime.&rdquo

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Carol Martin