Cyber Monday is a lucrative day for retailers. According to Adobe Analytics, consumers spent an average of $11 million per minute between 11 p.m. EST and midnight EST on Cyber Monday in 2019.

Savvy consumers recognize there’s great deals to be had on Cyber Monday, but the popular shopping holiday also marks a great time for cyber criminals to target unsuspecting online shoppers. 

Before the buying season begins it’s wise for shoppers to consider a few strategies for shopping safely this Cyber Monday.

• Beware of malvertising. In recent years, cyber criminals have employed malvertising to trick online shoppers into taking them to websites that look reputable. Malvertising injects malicious code into legitimate online advertising networks. If consumers accidentally click a malicious ad, the malvertising can trigger a code that installs malware or adware on their computers, redirect users to a malicious website instead of the one the ad suggests or redirect users to a website that looks just like a legitimate retailer’s site, even though it’s not. Update antivirus and ad blockers prior to Cyber Monday. In addition, update browsers and plugins, which can often prevent malvertising attacks.

• Update your software. Skipping or delaying software updates on a computer, tablet or smartphone can make online shoppers vulnerable to hackers and other cyber criminals. Install new operating systems on your devices when such updates become available, and check to see if any new updates can be installed before shopping on Cyber Monday.

• Avoid searching through search engines. When shopping, resist the temptation to look for deals through search engines. Cyber criminals can insert malicious links into search results, directing unsuspecting to consumers to malicious websites designed to target their personal information. When looking for deals, visit the websites of established retailers instead of conducting searchs through browsers like Google or Firefox.

• Read a URL before buying anything. One old yet still effective trick cyber criminals employ is creating websites that look identical to those of trusted retailers. These copycat sites may only be one letter different from legitimate sites. By reading URLs closely prior to entering any personal information, consumers can protect themselves from copycat websites.

Cyber Monday shoppers should be as cautious about cyber criminals as they are excited about finding great gifts.

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