It might feel like the biggest threat to your finances at Christmas is the habit of splashing out on Christmas gifts and mince pies, but there are far more pressing dangers to your financial security than this.
Studies have shown that at least 50% of online shoppers use search engines like Google to find gifts over the festive period. Whilst this method is often more convenient than taking a trip to the high-street, fraudulent phishing websites which are disguised as reliable websites can con individuals out of their money – leaving them with a nasty surprise over Christmas.
Phishing websites threaten our cyber security in many ways. They can steal our login details and introduce viruses or malware to our computers, tablets and other devices. That is why it is highly recommended to protect your devices with anti-virus software before embarking on any online shopping sprees this winter.
Thankfully, there is plenty of free virus protection available from leading software designers like Kaspersky. This allows you to witness the benefits of online protection first hand without spending a penny and is ideal for those who want to ‘try before they buy’.
Shopping online without good anti-virus software is comparable to tending to a rosebush without gloves: even with great care and vigilance you’re still at greater risk of getting hurt.
Anyone who has had access to the Internet for any length of time is likely to be aware of the fact that over 70% of email traffic is spam, much of which is malicious. However, not as many people know that hackers can implant computers with hidden software that logs everything the user types. This makes every payment a user authorises online a potential risk to the security of their finances.
One of the innovative ways in which the software is able to protect a computer is through a cloud-based security network. Any threats or infections against a compatible device are dealt with and recorded on this network with this knowledge then used to protect other connected devices from similar security risks.
If the software is unable to confirm the authenticity of a computer program or website it will alert users to the potential risk. The decision over how to proceed will remain with the individual operating the computer, ensuring you can still enjoy the freedom online shopping provides.
Some antivirus software packages even come with a free helpline so a friendly ear is always on hand to listen to any problems you’re experiencing and advise you on how to act.
It is also good practice to evaluate your online behaviour when reviewing your internet security. Strong passwords are still essential when shopping online and it is important you never record your log-in details where they can be accessed by third parties.
Some security software developers have developed a way to help with this. Kaspersky Password Manager, for example, is a piece of software which automatically generates passwords for your online accounts. These are stored in an encrypted database on your computer so you benefit from strong login security without having to try and remember complicated passwords yourself.