Families, be on high alert this ‘Cyber Monday’

By Anne Collier

You may’ve heard about how the Monday after Thanksgiving tends to be the biggest online shopping day of the year. Great bargains are to be had. Therefore by definition, it’s also a big day for online fraud, so somewhere between now and then, you might have a family chat about being extra alert when shopping on “Cyber Monday.” MacWorld suggests that you be extra cautious about deals that are too good to be true. It cites advice from security company TrendMicro that it’s a good idea to stick with “reputable online entities like Amazon and PayPal” and “check with your bank before you begin holiday shopping to see if it offers any extra protections.” Also be careful about shopping in public wi-fi spots. Better to use your password-protected network at home. A really sneaky trick cybercriminals have is to use popular celebrities’ names or seasonal search words (like “cyber Monday” and “Black Friday”!) to send search engine users to malicious Web sites. It helps to have security software installed that alerts you to bad sites before you click to them. A Computerworld.com blogger has some really meaty information for Facebook users. For example, if a “friend” is saying slightly strange things on your wall – maybe mentioning someone you both know, then “asking you to click on a link to take a quiz, play a game, or watch a shocking video – that “friend” may be a bot that took over your real friend’s friends list. “These bots have access to all the data of anyone connected to the hacked account,” Computerworld adds. With the launch of Facebook Messages, “which combines all personal communication like chats, texts, and emails in one place,” security firm Sophos told Computerworld that Facebook accounts will be linked with “many more people in your social circle” (assuming that you “upgrade” to a [you]@facebook.com address), which may create “new opportunities for identity fraudsters to launch attacks.”

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