Avoid giving cyber criminals a Christmas present
G Data offers a warning against online fraudsters and shows how Christmas shopping can be done online safely
When doing their Christmas shopping, more and more Germans are avoiding overcrowded city centres, preferring to shop from the com-fort of their own home via the Internet. According to BITKOM, in the past year alone some 25 million German users ordered presents for friends and family over the Internet. Cyber criminals are also profiting from this trend, using bogus or fake offers via email or other fraudulent methods to lure unsuspecting users into traps. The perpetrators' objective: to pocket the cash, but not dispatch the goods or to infect PCs so they can steal and sell valuable data. Of particular interest are passwords and access data for payment services, email accounts or online shops. G Data warns against bogus offers and urges Internet users to take care when buying presents. The German IT security provider has compiled a list of the most important security tips – so users do not end up giving criminals a Christmas present.
Scams used by online fraudsters
Fake dispatch confirmations
Christmas presents that have been ordered are usually delivered by parcel services. Hence criminals send fake emails with shipping confirmations and bills. The messages suggest, for example, that a package could not be delivered or that a new invoice for a shipping request is available in the customer service centre. These emails often contain a link to a website primed with malware, or a dangerous file attachment.
Alleged bargains to lure people into traps
In these spam emails, fraudsters promise brand name products such as luxury watches, smartphones or expensive designer products at very low prices. The integrated links lure users either to websites infected with malware or to a fake online shop where, for example, PayPal access data is stolen or the goods ordered are never dispatched after the payment has been accepted.
Dangerous Christmas greetings
Another popular strategy in the Christmas period is to send fake Christmas e-cards. These can contain file attachments infected with a variety of popular malware strains, or a link leading to a website primed with malware.
G Data security tips for safe Christmas shopping on the Internet
- Be well protected on the Internet: A comprehensive security solution is part of the basic equipment of any computer. Besides powerful virus protection, the security suite should include real-time protection when surfing, a firewall and anti-spam software.
- Stay fully up-to-date: The software installed on the PC and the operat-ing system should always be kept up-to-date, and all updates made available should be installed promptly. This will help users close security holes that criminals could otherwise exploit for attacks.
- Online banking – securely: During online transfers and other banking transactions, users should look out for a two-way authentication pro-cedure that is as secure as possible. G Data BankGuard technology, which is a component of all G Data 2014 security generation solutions, offers additional protection in this regard.
- Genuine online shops: Shoppers should study online shops carefully before purchasing and find out all about the general business terms and conditions, the shipping costs and any other costs when doing so. It is also useful to take a look at the legal notice, and it is worthwhile doing some online research, to establish whether the operator is a known "black sheep".
- Delete spam email: Messages with fake gift offers and spam email are best deleted without being read. Users should never click on embedded links or file attachments in these, as they could lure them directly into a malware trap.
- Secure payment on the net: During the payment process, users should look out for security indicators in their browser. The critical ones are the padlock in the address line, the 'https' abbreviation before the address itself and the right top level domain being displayed. If users are using a payment service to pay for Christmas gifts, they should choose one offering buyer protection.