Hackers increasingly use the high shopping volume on Black Friday for their attacks.
Buying safely online is currently not a matter of course. According to the German E-Commerce and Mail Order Association, 2019 was a record year: gross sales of goods ordered online rose by 11.6 percent year-on-year to 72.6 billion euros. The industry also expects a strong increase in online shoppers in 2020. However, hackers are also aware of this, and are deliberately selecting particularly busy times such as Black Friday and the pre-Christmas business for attacks more frequently. According to BusinessInsider, attacks on online stores on Black Friday are around 70 percent higher than on other days. Experts expect an even higher increase this year. The attacks sometimes paralyze online stores for more than five hours, especially during peak shopping hours.
Despite these frightening figures, you should not let the joy of shopping be taken away from you. That’s why the security experts at OTRS Group have put together 7 tips to help consumers make safe online purchases.
1. Pay Attention to Certificates and Seals of Approval
There are seals of approval from various providers that speak for the corresponding security of an online store. For the German-speaking countries Trusted Shops and S@fer-Shopping are to be called here.
To be on the safe side, you should first of all buy from known online merchants via known apps.
The SSL certificates, to recognize by the “lock symbol” in the URL bar, prove that the server actually corresponds to the appropriate Webshop. For this purpose the browser checks whether the certificate matches the URL of the website, whether it is valid and whether it has been signed by a trustworthy authority.
To be on the safe side, you should first of all buy from known online merchants via known apps. With lesser known ones, there is a risk that the stores have only just been established and may not always be able to provide the desired services right away.
2. Shoppers Can Only Buy Safely Online With Current Operating Systems and Apps
Consumers now store not only with their PC, but also with smartphones and tablets from anywhere. The recommendation, however, is to make purchases in a safe environment at home rather than in a public place such as a café. It is also important to shop only with the end device that has the latest operating system and apps with the latest updates. If the system is vulnerable to malware, the other security measures will not be able to do anything either.
3. Do Not Click on E-Mail Offers
In so-called phishing mails, special offers from supposed online merchants are presented. Websites from Amazon or other well-known online merchants are simulated and may actually look very similar. This phenomenon has become even more apparent since the Corona crisis and the increased sales of online stores. To be sure that this is not a scam, you should not click on the link in the mail, but rather go directly to the page of the online store to continue surfing.
Therefore, you should make sure that you use a different and secure password for each online merchant in order to shop safely.
4. Use a Secure Password for Each Online Store
It is not uncommon for criminals to try to obtain passwords in addition to account information in order to order goods at the expense of others or to misuse credit card data for other purposes. Therefore, you should make sure that you use a different and secure password for each online merchant in order to shop safely.
5. Button Solution
In order to prevent buyers from falling into subscription traps, the wording on the button at the end of an order process must clearly state that the order is subject to payment. This is the so-called button solution. Consumers should therefore pay more attention to the last click, even if insufficient wording does not result in a binding contract.
6. Choose Secure Payment Methods, for Example Visa Secure
During the payment process you should make sure to choose secure payment processes, such as Visa Secure. You can approve the payment directly in the VR-SecureCARD app or have a secure transaction number (TAN) sent to your cell phone in an SMS to protect online credit card payments.
7. Confirmation of the Receipt of an Order
You should also make sure that the goods are described and specified exactly before you buy. Beware of too many positive reviews, they could also be faked. Consumers should always have the receipt of the order confirmed in writing by the online merchant to have security in case of any problems. In addition, the delivery date should be mentioned in the order receipt. If the goods do not arrive in time, unpleasant surprises can occur at Christmas.
With these tips in mind, we wish you a lot of fun and pleasure in shopping safely.
As provider of the security solution STORM, OTRS is always up to date with security trends and needs.