It’s that time of the year again, and more and more people than ever are buying gifts and presents via the internet than by traditional methods. Let’s face it, unless you’re buying food, who doesn’t want to do their Christmas shopping online from the comfort of their own homes or even via mobile especially when at this time of the year time is gold and everywhere you go is packed to the rafters with people trying to accomplish the same thing as you.
But, as with everything in life, you have to be careful when doing your Christmas shopping online.
We’ve taken the time to compile a small but important list of internet threats to secure transactions:
- Banker Trojans: These malicious codes are designed to steal users’ bank details. These Trojans are often spread as attachments to emails, disguised as legitimate downloads in P2P programs such as eMule or Ares, downloaded from Web pages, etc. Generally, they operate silently and without affecting system functionality so that users are unaware that their computers are infected. Then when users visit their online bank, these Trojans capture their login details, passwords, etc.
- Spam: Spam is essentially junk mail, i.e, messages sent indiscriminately to our mailboxes from senders we don’t know. These messages normally advertise some type of product. No matter how attractive the offer, the fact that it comes from an unknown source should arouse suspicion. How can you know that the vendor is genuine? How do you know it is not a fraudster who will never send the goods? Or worse still, what if the spam is designed simply to capture your bank or credit card details? And even if you were to receive the products, they could be dangerous or faulty.
- Phishing: Another type of junk mail is phishing, which as a general rule will appear to have been sent by banks or other financial entities. These messages often claim that due to some kind of technical problem, you have to reconfirm your login details. According to the Center for Interbank Cooperation Group (CCI)-IT Security, online bank fraud is currently increasing by between 10 and 20 percent annually.
- Fake Christmas cards: A classic ruse to spread malware over the Christmas period is the use of fake greetings cards. These emails advise users that they can download an online Christmas card supposedly sent by a friend. However if they do this, they will actually be downloading some type of malware onto their computers.
- Fake online stores: These are Web pages set up to look like genuine online stores. They may advertise all types of products and generally offer highly competitive prices to attract users. Once again, they are commonly used to steal the victim’s bank details. Needless to say, the
products are never delivered.
- Spoof online auctions: Another, less frequent, technique used by criminals on the Internet is to insert comments on auction sites such as eBay pretending to be legitimate vendors, selling products and inviting users to visit a Web page from which they can buy the product. The aim, yet again, is to steal users’ details.