Were you shopping online this holiday season?

Were you shopping from your Smartphone this holiday season?

Many of you did! And why wouldn’t they? Besides just letting you shop from where you are, digital shopping enhances your shopping experience with the ability to research pricing, reviews, and product purchase options with ease. Results of a survey conducted for National Cyber Security Alliance and McAfee by Zogby International on a wide variety of online safety topics say the same. According to the survey, 50% of Americans have researched potential purchases, 27% have shopped, 18% have made online payments, and 12% have purchased goods from auction sites from their smartphone at least once in the last six months. Looks like this trend is here to stay and with this trend is going to stay threats from online criminals. That’s why you should be more alert when using your smartphone to shop and here are some tips that will help you do just that:

Keep a clean machine: The best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats is having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system. Also remember to automate software updates; most software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. It is important that you protect all devices that connect to the Internet (such as computers, smartphones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices) from viruses and malware. Scanning “USBs” and other external devices after plugging them is a must-do because they can be infected by viruses and malware.

Protect your personal information: Secure your accounts by asking for protection beyond passwords. These days, many account providers offer additional ways for you to verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.

Passwords that combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols are more secure. Make sure your passwords meet these criteria when opening new accounts.

If you are asked for personal information when making a transaction, provide only Essential Personal Information. And make sure you know who is asking for the information, and why they need it.

Thwarting cybercriminals becomes easier if you have separate passwords for every account.

It’s normal to forget a password (or two) but that’s no excuse not to write them down and store the list in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

Own your online presence by setting the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing (if such an option is available).

Connect with care: Cybercriminals often compromise your computer through links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising. So, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or mark as junk the links and emails that look suspicious.

It’s safer to limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine when you’re at Wi-Fi hotspots.

If you don’t want to lose your hard earned money to hackers, check to see if the websites you visit are security enabled when banking and shopping. Web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, indicate that the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. Http://, on the other hand, is not secure.

Keep in mind that there might be criminals were trying to lure you through holiday shopping offers. So if you happened to come across deals that appear too good to be true or emails that say something has gone wrong with an online purchase, it’s time to be on high alert.

Be Web Wise:

Before a first time purchase from a merchant (or auction seller) new to you, search to see how others have rated them, and don’t forget to check their reviews. You should do these things even if you are a return customer because reputations can change.

Find new ways to stay safe online by checking trusted websites for the latest information. And don’t be greedy; share the info with friends, family, and colleagues! Beware of communications that ask you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.

A web wise person protects his valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. We’re sure you can try to be one of them.

Be a good netizen:

People at home, at work and around the world can be affected by what you do online. So it’s important that you practice good online habits; it’s going to benefit the global digital community! Also make it a point to post only about others as you have them post about you.

Also, as a good online citizen, it’s your duty to help the authorities fight cyber crime: stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime can be reported to www.ic3.gov (Internet Crime Complaint Center), the Federal Trade Commission at http://onguardonline.gov/file-complaint (if it’s fraud), and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general.

Staying safe online is a tough job. But what would you rather be? Safe? Or sorry?