FLORHAM PARK, N.J., Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2014, 126.9 million (52 percent) of all people in the United States shopped online on Cyber Monday, spending $2.65 billion, making it the biggest shopping day of the year. 2015 is expected to be similar and cyber criminals are already prepared to begin exploiting unsuspecting deal hunters with scams, fraudulent websites and malware. With that in mind, the secure data delivery and email encryption experts at DataMotion have declared Cyber Monday 2015 as the inaugural "Safe Internet Shopping Awareness Day" in hopes of raising awareness among consumers and businesses to be safer when shopping online this, and every, holiday season.
Since the name "Cyber Monday" was first coined in 2005, online sales have increased more than five times on the first Monday after Thanksgiving and cybercriminals are well aware of this. Online thieves deploy endless methods to dupe consumers into visiting fraudulent websites, which can install malware or spyware onto a user's machine, or divulging sensitive information that can be used for identity theft. Particularly at risk are businesses and the thieves know that roughly half of U.S. workers will shop online during work, according to a 2014 Cyber Monday survey by CareerBuilder. More than half (53 percent) of senior managers admit they will shop during the day along with 46 percent of lower-level professionals. Staffing firm Robert Half Technology reports that 69 percent of companies allowed online shopping in 2014. Therefore, it is in every company's best interest to educate employees on how to be vigilant and better protect themselves shopping online.
In honor of Safe Internet Shopping Awareness Day, the experts at DataMotion recommend the following best practices for consumers to follow and businesses to teach their employees:
- Go straight to the source – Enter the store's online address directly into your browser versus using a search engine. Search engine results can be rigged by hackers to encourage users into clicking links that lead to fraudulent websites.
- Use those apps – 41.2 percent of 2014 Cyber Monday traffic came from mobile devices (IBM). When using a mobile device to shop or browse, use the app provided by the retailer versus using the device's mobile browser. These apps tend to be more secure.
- Find the lock – Never enter a credit card number into a website that does not have secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption. You will know that a website has SSL installed if the URL starts with "https://" instead of "http://" Also be sure to find the locked padlock icon, either right in the address bar or at the bottom of page, depending on the browser.
- Use strong passwords – Especially if your credit card number is stored by the website for faster check-out. Passwords should never be birthdays, names of your children, or other easy-to-guess items. Strong passwords always contain a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- Stay vigilant! – Whether visiting an online storefront found by a search engine or viewing an email promising savings or a free giveaway, look for things that are out of place. Cybercriminals tend to have a low attention to detail and their fraudulent websites normally contain misspellings, or a different domain name, such as ".net" instead of ".com." Also be aware that legitimate online storefronts will not ask for your social security number or your date of birth.
- Too good to be true!? – When it comes to emails, as the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Emails offering discounts or free giveaways with purchase are often loaded with malware or will take you to a website that will infect your machine or company network.
- Friends bearing e-gifts – Beware of your friends as well, whose account may have been hacked or who may innocently forward a corrupt email to you. Remember, trusted sources will often add some sort of color commentary to what they are sending you, but again, always look for items that seem out of place.
"Education and awareness are the greatest tools in fighting cybercrime. By starting 'Safe Internet Shopping Awareness Day', we hope that people and businesses will educate themselves about staying safer when shopping online this Cyber Monday and throughout the holidays," said Bob Janacek, co-founder and chief technology officer at DataMotion. "We encourage every person and business to raise their awareness and adopt good habits, which will reduce the risk for personal identity and corporate theft. All of us here at DataMotion wishes everyone a safe, happy holiday season."
To learn more about DataMotion, the company's email encryption and secure file transfer solutions, and how to stay safer when online shopping, please visit: http://www.datamotion.com/november-30-is-safe-internet-shopping-awareness-day/
Since 1999, DataMotion secure data delivery technology has enabled organizations of all sizes to reduce the cost and complexity of delivering electronic information to employees, customers and partners in a secure and compliant way. Ideal for highly regulated industries, the DataMotion SecureMail portfolio offers easy-to-use encryption solutions for email, file transfer, forms processing and customer-initiated contact. In the healthcare sector, DataMotion is an accredited HISP (health information service provider) of Direct Secure Messaging. The DataMotion Direct service enables efficient interoperability and sharing of patient data across the continuum of care. DataMotion is privately held and based in Florham Park, N.J. For the latest news and updates, visit http://www.datamotion.com, follow DataMotion on LinkedIn or Twitter® @datamotion.
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