Protect Yourself From Hackers on Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year and, if you plan to go online soon, we have help to keep you safe.

The National Retail Federation said 80 percent of consumers will shop online Monday and Adobe predicts online shopping will hit $3 billion this year. That's a lot of potential victims for hackers.

If you're going to shop, don't do it while using free wi-fi. Experts say it's easy for hackers to hop onto and steal all your information.

When surfing the web, stick to sites you know. Make sure you're on the right site, especially after you put in a search term and get results. Cyber Defense Labs Executive Director Michael Saylor described a type of attack called typo-squatting, when a hacker has a website that's a letter or two off of a popular website to try to get you to click.

"You get the top 5 results. The first one is usually a paid link, but the next one is Amazon but spelled a little different,  like 'amazone,'" he said.

Another attack is search engine poisoning, which happens when you go searching for a popular product or news story and click onto a website that looks legit.

"They will go and design a fake website with legitimate content in order to drive the search engine analytics in a way to get their fake websites to show up on the first page search results," Saylor said. "Then they will infect that website."

Adobe said, for the first time, mobile shopping will overtake desktop shopping in 2015. Saylor said that's a good thing, because, in general, the data plan for your smart phone is separate from your home or shared Internet, which can be safer.

If you plan to shop with your phone or tablet today, don't use:

  • Free wi-fi to shop. When you use it, crooks can use it too and steal your stuff.
  • Your browser when on a mobile device.

Instead, do use a:

  • Store's app. It may have an extra layer of security and encryption.
  • Credit card instead of debit. That way you can dispute fraudulent purchases before they hit your bank account.
  • Different email address and password combination for every site.

Saylor also recommended entering in your credit card information each time you shop. If you don't save it, that's one fewer way for crooks to steal it.

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