U.S. online purchases, including those made on Cyber Monday, are expected to hit a new record this holiday season, providing another avenue for retailers to lock in sales but exposing shoppers to more cybersecurity hazards. With a shorter shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, security experts say that there probably will be more scams.
oppers should be wary of public wireless networks that scammers could use to snoop on devices that join for quick Internet access, said Cameron Camp, security researcher at the information technology firm ESET. The cautious ones, he said, may want to get a prepaid card that has access only to the amount of money they’ve dedicated to holiday shopping.
The increased emphasis on online sales means that retailers should take measures to combat the threats that come with any high-traffic shopping season, said Erin Nealy Cox, executive managing director for investigations and intelligence for the risk management firm Stroz Friedberg. Stores must be able not only to guarantee a safe shopping environment but also to react quickly to strange trends in customers’ buying habits. Increased mobile use also may result in more users being lured into downloading malicious apps, or clicking on bad Twitter or text messages that take shoppers to sites that steal their financial information.