Tue, December 21, 2010
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Shopping safely online

2010-12-21 02:14:41 GMT2010-12-21 10:14:41 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

With busy schedules and boatloads of free shipping offers shopping online is a handy option, but hackers are hungry for consumers' sensitive data. A cyber security expert offers way to shop more safely online.

With loads of free shipping offered this year online shopping has hit a new record this holiday season. Since the first of November internet shoppers have spent nearly $28 billion, according to research firm comScore.

Shopping online can be handy but beware of the nasty hackers out there waiting to snag your information says Fred Rica, cyber security expert at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"You know five or ten years ago there was a notion of a hacker sort of being a pierced, tie-dyed, ponytailed teenager in his basement and there is some truth to that What we've seen though over time is it has evolved to very sophisticated, very well funded and very organized groups of people working in concert."

To shop more safely online Rica urges the following three tips:

Top of the list..do not store credit card information.

"There's no reason for you to store your credit card number with another company and in fact that's exactly what hackers go after. They look for the files that have all of those credit cards amassed in them."

Number two, create complex passwords.

"For example my name is spelled F, r, e, d. I could take that "e" and make it a "3" and now I have an easy to remember hard to guess password."

And three, avoid embedded links...

"We've all gotten emails with links and they've got all kinds of crazy characters in them and they're a mile long. I would say don't click on those."

He says instead type the retailers' address directly into the browser.

Applying measures like these aren't a hundred percent foolproof, but they can greatly cut the odds of being a hacker target - making for a much jollier online shopping season.

Jeanne Yurman, Reuters

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