Nov 30 2009

Happy Cyber Monday!

Filed under best practices,security

So how many of you knew there was such a thing as Cyber Monday? An invention of the National Retail Federation, Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday. Just as Black Friday features all kinds of sales and promotions in the stores, Cyber Monday features sales and promotions by online retailers.

You can be sure that scammers, cyber criminals and identity thieves are ready to take advantage of people going online to search for bargains.  So let’s review a few online safety tips before venturing out on a virtual shopping trip.

  1. Make sure your anti-virus is current and all security updates have been applied before starting.  Although there is always new malware being developed, updating your system will help protect it from all of the known malware, which is a good start.
  2. Check search results before clicking.  Many scammers and criminals have learned how to manipulate search engine results so that their site is returned as a legitimate result to a search for “Christmas sales”, for example.  Check the entire domain name, especially the last section.  If the last part of the domain name is something like .cn, .fm, .br, .ru, etc., I would not recommend clicking on it. It is probably a site set up to steal your information. 
  3. Use a low-limit credit card or virtual credit card for online purchases.  I have a credit card with a $500 limit that I use for most online purchases.  If criminals get that number, there is not much they can do with it.  For major purchases, I use a virtual credit card offered by my credit card company.  I go to the credit card company’s web site and set up a virtual card that has a different number, expiration date and CVS code.  I can set the limit on the card to the amount of the purchase.  Once again, if the criminals get this number, the most they can get is the amount I have applied to that number – they have no access to my main account, and the virtual number expires after a few days.
  4. If you are suspicious of a site, you can go to and type in the domain name of the site to get more information about it.  You can see how long the site has been registered, who the contact person is, etc.  If the site has only been registered a short time, be very wary.
  5. Check to see if the site is using a secure connection before entering your financial data.  Most sites using a secure connection will have a closed lock in the status bar or next to the URL.  However, don’t just trust that the lock means the site is secure.  That can be faked by the web page designer.  Instead, right click on the lock and make sure that the site is using a digital certificate signed by a nationally known certificate provider, such as Verisign. (See below.)ssl1
  6. As always, exercise caution and common sense when sharing any personal or financial information online.

Happy shopping!

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Happy Cyber Monday!”

  1.   Diane Rosenblumon 01 Dec 2009 at 2:44 pm     1

    If a site has a https: which indicates secure site for ordering, is that a good sign, or can that be faked?

  2.   Skip Breweron 01 Dec 2009 at 3:16 pm     2

    Hi Diane! When HTTPS is used, it means that the data between your computer and the server is encrypted in transit. This means that no one should be able to capture your personal information on its way to the server. However, it does not mean that the server itself is either legitimate or safe. Anyone can set up a site to use HTTPS and use their own digital certificate. If you are suspicious of a site that uses HTTPS, check to see who issued the certificate (just right-click on the lock icon). If it is a company like Verisign, Thawte or Digicert, you are probably OK. If the issuer cannot be determined, be careful.

  3.   http://www.myinterestcalculator.comon 09 Sep 2012 at 7:51 am     3

    I do agree with all the ideas you’ve offered for your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for beginners. May just you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  4.   Bookmarking socialon 19 Oct 2012 at 4:08 am     4

    It is actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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