Get web-wise this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 11:46 28 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 11 May 2010

MAKE sure you take steps to avoid identity fraud this Christmas. During the festive season, an increasing number of people are spending time online to buy presents, manage their party calendars, keep updated with friends and family and send greetings. Bu

MAKE sure you take steps to avoid identity fraud this Christmas.

During the festive season, an increasing number of people are spending time online to buy presents, manage their party calendars, keep updated with friends and family and send greetings.

But, you can lose that festive glow very quickly when you're attacked online by a virus or your account is hacked into. Online security firm CA Inc has released the twelve Internet safety tips to keep you safe over the festive season and as we enter the January sales:

- Avoid "Click-happy" Accidents: Don't be a "Click-happy" person - be cautious before clicking and following links - especially those that look festive and fun.

- Evil Greeting Cards: Watch your incoming emails! Waledac malicious greeting cards such as "e-Cards", "You've received a Christmas Card..." "You've received a Holiday Greeting..."; and recent ones are using more personalised subjects, such as "Hello Darling".

- Phishing Tricks: Be aware of Phishers! Phishing email commonly targets users of really popular Christmas shopping and transaction sites such as PayPal, eBay and Amazon, although bank notification emails and credit card frauds are also on the top schemes of these financially motivated attackers.

- Surfing Disaster: Surf the internet safely. Make sure your online security protection is turned on (firewall, HIPS and anti-malware). Cyber threats use blackhat search engine optimisation to direct traffic to malicious websites.

- Festive Scammers: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Scams may arrive in very powerful and convincing ways - either by offering a job, big discounts or a lottery win. In most cases, the email provides instructions on how to claim the offer which often require users an initial sum of money or personal information like credit card details.

- Charity Fraud: Are you in the mood for helping and giving this season? When donating, make sure you know and understand the cause of your selected charity organisation. Avoid engaging into hasty decisions by just following a good looking or compelling email or visiting an unfamiliar website. Spend time to research and don't hesitate to ask!

- Deceptive Shopping Deals: In a gloomy economy, many of us try to maximise by finding the best deal for our money. The Internet has been a great source of information and this includes discount coupons, gift cards and freebies. Scammers will often mislead users and request funds to support a joining/membership fee, selling items or getting credit card information.

For online shoppers, please be aware of dubious "price-comparison" websites as well.

- Dangerous Downloads & Installs: Spammed malware uses social engineering techniques such as the "Delivery Problem". This email message pretends to be coming from legitimate companies such as Parcelforce, DHL and FedEx. The convincing looks and content often lead to manual download and installation of a malicious programme. Related pick-up lines are:

"We've Got Your Postal Tracking Number" and "Western Union transfer is available for withdrawal".

- Identity Theft: Holiday hackers, password stealers and banking trojans may take advantage of the festive season.

Social networking sites are another notable target this season. These communities are a source of communication and exchange where people get in-touch with friends and families by sending greetings, updates and showing photos and videos. Threats such as Koobface may take advantage of the "festive mood" by deploying customised theme that increases its chances of infection.

- Revealing travel plans and 'loot': Also be cautious about updating your social media status updates with travel plans over the holidays and posting photos of all of the expensive presents, when you also have your home address listed on the info page (ideally, you shouldn't reveal your home address at all).

- Secure Shopping logos: Always look for secure shopping logos before entering credit card information.

- Enable Security Protections: Be cautious about your online activity, enable online projection, update your security software and save energy by turning off your computer when not in-use.

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