The festive season brings with it heart warming wishes and some great online deals for shoppers and discount seekers. Online retailers present some great discounts and add-ons at this time of the year and online sales see a massive surge in activity as a result.

Unsurprisingly, attackers and phishers use this jubilant opportunity to trick unsuspecting shoppers. Over the years it has been found that shopping scams are very common over this period so buyers and web surfers need to be more cautious than usual. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind.

  1. Be on the lookout for fake websites and pages that promise gifts and rewards to entice people. Check the authenticity of a page, especially if it is a shortened link, before entering details or other private information.
  2. SEO poisoning refers to the process where attackers enable their phishing websites to feature higher in a Google search with the help of SEO tools. So users should be careful about the websites that they visit. Some websites inject malware in the form of drive-by downloads as soon as a user visits the website.
  3. Phishing scams and free gift giveaways will also be advertised in large numbers over social networks like Facebook and others. These should be ignored completely.
  4. Some people may also receive holiday themed spam in their email inbox. Certain mails may ask users to submit personal details, fill out survey forms or offer gifts and rewards. These should be ignored and deleted immediately.
  5. Virus protection software and operating system versions should be updated and patched so that fake pages and unseen threats can be detected.

The holiday season is a time to celebrate and rejoice. It is also the season for hasty last-minute gift purchases. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the time when the holiday spirit is exploited to create schemes that play on human behavior and emotions. It always helps to be aware and to understand the implications of being caught in the holiday season fake online schemes and ploy snares. Remember, if the offer seems too good to be true, it often is.

Cyber Crime Awareness Society (CCA Society) sends out hearty season greetings and wishes everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year. We hope you remain protected against hacking attacks and enjoy this festive period without any security threats to worry about.

Siddharth Jain.