Holiday Advisory: Safe Shopping Online

On Monday of this week, Malwarebytes sent out its first newsletter to our subscribed users. It was a huge milestone for us and it opened a new line of communication between our team and our customers. I was asked to provide an excerpt of advice for our customers shopping online this Holiday season and I thought I would share it with all of you.

As the Holidays near, we at Malwarebytes are thinking of the gift shoppers who will fall victim to credit card theft on the Internet. While online shopping is easier than waiting for hours in line, it can also be very dangerous. Here are a few steps to lower your risk. First, always shop from credible vendors such as Amazon, Newegg, and Overstock. Many malicious websites will advertise ultra-low prices in an attempt to steal your credit card information. Next, check your bank statements often. If your debit or credit card number is stolen online, you’ll notice any fraudulent charges early. Finally, and most importantly, use a disposable credit card for each online purchase. These single use credit cards are a perfect way to keep your bank account safe.

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Teaching Security to the Hopeless

One of my Twitter followers suggested that I write about security tips for the technically challenged. Instantly, I thought about my last visit home.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll notice that your friends, your family, and even people you rarely interact with always turn to you with their computer troubles. Sometimes, the questions are easy to answer, like recommending anti-virus software. Other times, you get the friend or family member that is technically savvy enough to follow your advice. Unfortunately, most of the time you get to deal with the hopeless, my parents being a prime example.¬†Luckily my mother doesn’t read this blog. If she did, I’d get an earful on my next visit home.

Below are some easy tips you can recommend to those you may be hearing from a bit too much:

  1. Don’t just click next. When installing a piece of software, read each page of the installation. Many software companies now ask you to install a toolbar and if you don’t opt-out you may end up with browsing the Internet with¬†this.
  2. Be vigilant while browsing. If you search Google for “car rentals,” make sure you select a search result that looks credible, like Hertz. This sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone get infected by clicking the first link or advertisement.
  3. Buy your anti-virus software. Okay, that may be stretching it but make sure your anti-virus is scheduled to update continuously. Most full versions of anti-virus software have automatic updating enabled by default.
  4. You don’t have any friends trying to sell you Viagra, I promise. Don’t open e-mails from senders you don’t recognize. More importantly, don’t open attachments unless you absolutely trust the sender.

With these quick tips, I was able to significantly reduce the number of calls from my parents. Leave a comment to share what’s worked for you!