Online Shopping risks

It’s an Online World After All

When it comes to online shopping, there are several benefits that one can immediately take away. It is quick, easy, flexible, and cost efficient. One can find better deals on online stores and compare goods in a way unknown to physical retail stores. As a result, B2C e-commerce sales all over the world exceed $1,250 billion – more than the national income of several small countries.

However, with such large volumes comes the very real threat of cybercrime. Naturally, cyber criminals do not want to miss out on this extravaganza. As a result, online shopping portals and shoppers are their fateful targets. This is especially true during the festive season as there are several online sales and discounts flooding the marketplace. As customers rush to grab the best deals, cyber criminals wait in the background to trap them.

What all online shoppers should beware of

For shoppers, here are the common risks that they need to be wary about. Knowledge about these common attack vectors will help people avoid potential crimes against them and also enable them to educate their friends and family members as well.

The risk of ‘Phishing Scams’

These are the most common kind of threats to be careful about. It is very simple to make a fake page that resembles a genuine shopping site or page, and then get a buyer to enter his details there. Once the user has been tricked into sharing his personal details or bank details, he becomes a victim of an online scam or malware campaign.

The risk of ‘Online Theft’

When a user visits a site and makes an online purchase, his details entered are up for grabs. This is the prize that online attackers look for and makes their efforts worthwhile. These details can be acquired by an attacker either by phishing the user, or by hacking the server of a genuine site and stealing details. Once a cybercriminal has in-depth information such as Name, DOB, Contact details, Address and more, he can cause a huge financial dent in the victims account.

The risk of ‘Specialized Malware’

The most common cases of data loss or theft stem from exposure to malware. Malicious software enters a machine through email attachments, downloads, infected websites, infected devices and more. Once inside, they can spy on a user’s activities, redirect him to malicious portals, track keyboard inputs and perform other highly dangerous activities. Malware authors deliberately target such malware during times of high traffic, so as to get maximum exposure and hits.

The risk of ‘Fake Stores’

Fake stores and deals are the bane of all online shoppers. How many times have you seen an ad for a really sweet deal and clicked on it only to be directed to a fake and shady looking website that has absolutely no sign of the deal you clicked on? Such sites often become malware distribution centers and also offer inferior or fake goods. Mobile shoppers in particular, need to be wary of fake websites or pages that make high promises.

The risk of ‘Fake Apps’

With a large population of smartphone owners, app developers are having a field day at the moment. However, online shoppers need to look out for fake online shopping apps that make lofty promises of several great deals. Once an app has been installed, it has access to several system files and data and can also ask the user to save his card details for future purchases, and then transmit all of this information to a remote server. Smartphone owners need to be even more cautious since their devices are highly vulnerable through multiple channels.

While these online shopping risks can disrupt many people’s lives, there are many solutions that can be adopted as well. These range from effective antivirus solutions to propagating knowledge sharing platforms. Stay tuned for the next post in our series about safety tips for online shoppers for more information on this subject.

We have another upcoming webinar on 29th October, and the topic for discussion there is “How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online”. All who are interested in attending this webinar, can visit our social media platforms for the registration portal for this webinar. We look forward to seeing you there.