Cyber Monday is the day stay-at-home consumers seek out online deals at their own leisure and guffaw at those who lined up dreary-eyed at storefronts in the dim morning light with fellow AM zombies three days earlier. However, the shopping holiday’s growing popularity, coupled with the inherent dangers of the Internet, could potentially spell disaster for uninformed buyers.
The Redmond company has published a few tips for avoiding online scams and securing your credit card information at its Windows Team Blog.
Internet Explorer Product Manager Anurag Pandit recommended Cyber Monday shoppers ensure their browsers, anti-virus software and additional programs like Adobe Flash are up-to-date before they get busy buying. “The last thing that you want is to be a victim of a Black Friday scam or end up with is a hacked email account and a stolen identity in the hustle of online shopping,” he said.
Pandit unsurprisingly named Internet Explorer 9 as the first choice in browsers, citing its malware-blocking SmartScreen feature, but relented that modern browsers like Google Chrome or Firefox 8 will suffice.
“Your browser is your entry point to the web – it’s also your first line of defense against online attacks,” said the IE manager. “Newer browsers contain updated security features that are better suited to protect you from attacks common today.”
Pandit also stressed the importance of Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) when engaging in any online transaction.
“When you type in a website’s address, make sure it starts with an ‘HTTPS’ and not HTTP,” he explained. “If the site is legitimate a lock should appear in the address bar, and its presence means that the connection between your browser and the website is secured – so it’s harder for an attacker to get your credit card information.”
An optional Firefox extension called HTTPS Everywhere further protects web browsing outside of online buying and selling, though has yet to earn universal support from sites.
Pandit lastly pointed to The Atlantic’s unofficial renaming of Black Friday to Update Your Parents’ Browser Day as the perfect excuse to make sure loved ones aren’t setting themselves up for an epic fail next Monday. (via Windows Team Blog)
Is your computer ready to go for Cyber Monday? Let us know in the comment section.