Fortinet warns Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers of potential threats

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As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach – the two busiest shopping days of the year – Fortinet, a leading provider of high-performance network security, and its research division FortiGuard Labs, are warning shoppers to be wary of several common scams this holiday season, and have issued important tips than can keep consumers safe, both when shopping online or at brick-and-mortar stores. The full report can be found on the Fortinet blog. http://blog.fortinet.com/post/secure-your-holiday-shopping 

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Looming Threats for Holiday Shoppers:

  • ATM Fraud: ATM fraud continues to be a way for criminals to make a fast buck, from “jackpotting” cash machines, to installing malware directly on the ATM, to skimming card data and recording your PIN. This holds especially true during the holiday season, when more people are stockpiling cash for post Thanksgiving sales.
  • Point-of-Sale Kiosk Malware: Infected Point of Sale Kiosks and other compromised systems have been responsible for major retail breaches over the last year. A device can become compromised without physical access to the register. And it sometimes takes retailers a while to detect and neutralize the breach.
  • Online Scams and Infected Retail Sites: As with retail shopping, malware designed to pilfer credit card information and then hand it over to cyber thieves runs rampant during the holiday season.  In that same vein, keep your eye out for fake online stores that peddle counterfeit goods at too-good-to-be true prices.

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves This Holiday Season:

  • Shop only at those stores – online or offline – that you know and trust.
  • Use a credit card as opposed to a debit card to ensure fraud protection.
  • Use a credit card from a financial institution that offers one-time use, time-limited or virtual credit card numbers.
  • When shopping online, be sure to transmit financial information via SSL for a secure connection.
  • Only download shopping applications from an official app store; and delete the app if it asks for too much information at registration.
  • Never click on a link in an email – especially if the email claims to be from your bank.
  • Use a “Live CD” or dedicated browser when conducting online searches and shopping activities.

“This year, spending on holiday shopping is expected to increase significantly from last year, with more than half of that increase coming from shoppers using smartphones,” said Alain Penel, regional vice president – Middle East at Fortinet. “Buyers need to beware of possible threats to their personal and financial information whether online, on their phones or in-store.  Knowing what to watch for and taking measures to protect themselves and their devices is critical to avoid being impacted.”

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Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is easily excited by the smallest of technologies around. He is an Android fanboy at heart, who also owns an iPhone, a Windows Phone, and a BlackBerry. Though he uses a MacBook Pro at work, he also uses a Windows PC, an Xbox One and an Xbox 360 for all his gaming requirements. True gadget lover at heart!