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Tips On Protecting Yourself While Shopping Online


by Eugene Teo, Manager for Security Response, Symantec Singapore

The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) is around the corner and excited shoppers are likely to take their purchasing online to beat the crowds. However, cybercriminals might also be taking advantage of this by tapping on unprotected online transactions and targeting unsuspecting online shoppers.

According to the Norton Cybercrime Report 2012, while one in three consumers feel safe to conduct online transactions, it’s concerning that 29% admit to online shopping through free or unsecured Wi-Fi connections, and even more so that 60% admit to not using advanced protection tools or software, which can protect them from most common cyber threats.

Don’t be a victim as you shop online – here are some online best practices to follow:

1. Search for signs of approval.

Make the most of the sales but only shop on reputable websites. When shopping online, always use reputable websites and any transactions you make should only take place across secure pages. Trust marks, such as the Norton Secured Seal, show the retailer has been verified and the site is likely free from malware. Also, look for HTTPS and the color green in your browser address bar before entering your personal information.

2. “Password” is not an acceptable password.

Pay particular attention to the passwords for your email, social networking and online banking accounts, making them as complex and unique as you can by including a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Also, avoid storing your credit card information on retailer websites.

3. Be cautious on public Wi-Fi networks.

Tempting as it may be to purchase a product while using a public Wi-Fi network, these hotspots can be virtual playgrounds for cybercriminals. Instead, use a personal VPN or wait until you’re on a protected network before purchasing anything online or logging onto your bank website.

4. Avoid spam’s hidden surprises.

Not all spam is harmless; some spam carries viruses and other malicious threats that may harm your computer. With holiday headlines like “All-to-go Great Singapore Sale: 80% off!” or even more subtle but seasonal captions like “Information about your shipped package!”, you may be tempted to click, but you’d be wise to junk them instead. Always be cautious of any emails you receive from unknown recipients or that seem just a bit too generous.

5. Take your security to-go.

Some people are not aware that there are security solutions for mobile devices. Don’t let your mobile device be the next target for cybercriminals. Keep up to five devices protected with Norton 360 Multi-Device and let your online shopping be about getting the best deals and not about avoiding cybercrime.


Eugene Teo is the manager of Security Response for Symantec Singapore, responsible for leading a multi-functional security response team to monitor and analyze the emerging trends in the global threat landscape. In this role, Eugene and his team investigate high-impact security threats, deliver protection and incorporate security content into Symantec’s enterprise and consumer product lines.