Beware of Cyber Monday ripoffs

WASHINGTON — Cyber Monday doesn’t just present savings opportunities for online shoppers; it also presents chances for hackers to help themselves to shoppers’ personal information.

Security experts say the annual increase in Cyber Monday activity has criminals writing apps, setting up phony public Wi-Fi networks and unleashing malware, all in hopes of separating shoppers from their private data.

Public Wi-Fi in brick-and-mortar malls presents a danger, as hackers can monitor user keystrokes or divert users to malicious websites, according to mobile security vendor Skycure, as reported in Network World.

The Network World site also advises shoppers to download only apps from legitimate app stores, to be suspicious of apps that require multiple permissions and to check out the reputation of app publishers.

Experts suggest that shoppers turn off location services while shopping, to reduce the personal data that could be compromised.

Be leery of great deals that you learn about through social email, or unsolicited emails, and don’t click on included links, security experts say.

Phishing attempts were expected to triple during Thanksgiving week, which could include “payment-related fraudulent emails purporting to be from PayPal, delivery confirmation emails claiming a package is being delivered, coupons promoting products or retailers, and fake refunds,” according to threat intelligence company Recorded Future.

You should only enter credit card information in legitimate, secure shopping portals, and make sure the connection to e-commerce sites is secured, with an HTTPS classification and prefix.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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