There is an increased security risk at Christmastime
Cupertino, December 18, 2019 – As is well known, online shops are booming at Christmastime. Instead of waiting in long queues forever, gifts are quickly bought online with a click of the mouse. Hackers, however, also know this and are consciously choosing the pre-Christmas shopping season more and more frequently for planning attacks.
“Shortly before Christmas many people come under pressure if they do not have all of their gifts together. That leads to the fact that safety precautions for online shopping are overlooked,” says Jens Bothe, safety expert and global Director Consulting at OTRS Group. “Therefore it is important to develop awareness about increasing one’s safety and to take advice seriously — especially during heavy purchase times like the Christmas season.”
The security experts at OTRS Group have compiled six tips for secure online shopping.
1. Do not click on email offers.
In so called phishing emails, special offers from supposed online merchants are presented. The websites of Amazon or other well-known online merchants are recreated and can actually look very similar to the official sites. To make sure that the email is not a scam directing people to one of these look alike sites, potential buyers should not click on the link in the email; rather, they should go directly to the page of the online shop to continue surfing there.
2. Pay attention to certificates and trust seals.
There are trust seals from different providers that speak for the corresponding security of an online shop. Examples of these in the United States are Better Business Bureau, McAfee or VeriSign.
Additionally, the SSL certificates, recognizable by the “lock symbol” in the URL bar, prove that the server actually corresponds to the corresponding web shop. To do this, the browser checks whether the certificate matches the URL of the website, whether it is valid, and whether it has come from a trustworthy authority.
To be on the safe side, consumers should buy primarily from well-known online retailers. If they are less well known, there is a danger that the shops have only just been established and cannot always provide these desired security services immediately.
3. Only shop with state-of-the-art equipment.
Nowadays, consumers no longer shop only with their PC, but also purchase with their smartphones and tablets from anywhere. The recommendation, however, is to make purchases in a safe environment at home rather than in a public environment such as a café. It is also important to only shop with a device that has the latest operating system and use apps that have the latest updates so that vulnerabilities are addressed. (If the system is vulnerable to malware, other security measures can’t do anything to help.)
4. Use a secure password for every online shop.
It is not unusual for criminals to try to obtain passwords in addition to account information. They use these to order goods at the expense of an unsuspecting consumer or to misuse credit card information for other purposes. Consumers should therefore ensure that they use a secure password for each online retailer.
5. Read the fine print.
Sites that offer recurring shipment options or subscription services are required to clearly state when you will be billed and for how much. Be careful to read the fine print any time when you are signing up for such a service so that you understand what the costs and billing arrangements are.
6. Get a confirmation receipt for your orders.
Buyers should ensure that the goods are accurately described and specified in receipts. In addition, the delivery date should be stated in the order receipt. Consumers should always have the online retailer confirm receipt of their order in writing for added security. If the goods do not arrive on time, there may be unpleasant surprises at Christmas.
As the provider of the security solution STORM, OTRS Group is always at the forefront of security trends and needs.
Read additional blog contributions about current security topics.
About OTRS Group
OTRS Group is the manufacturer and the world’s largest provider of the service management suite OTRS, awarded with the SERVIEW CERTIFIED TOOL seal of approval. It offers flexible solutions for process and communication management to companies of all sizes, saving them time and money. Among its customers are Lufthansa, Airbus, IBM, Porsche, Siemens, BSI (Federal Office for Security in Information Technology), Max Planck Institute, Toyota, Hapag Lloyd and Banco do Brazil (Bank of Brazil). More than 170,000 companies worldwide use OTRS, including over 40 percent of the DAX 30 companies. OTRS is available in 40 languages. The company consists of OTRS AG and its six subsidiaries OTRS Inc. (USA), OTRS S.A. de C.V. (Mexico), OTRS Asia Pte. Ltd. (Singapore), OTRS Asia Ltd. (Hong Kong), OTRS do Brasil Soluções Ltda. (Brazil) and OTRS Magyarország Kft. (Hungary). OTRS AG is listed on the basic board of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. For more information, see www.otrs.com.