Whether you casually make online purchases or are an avid online shopper, there are many risks to consider. Despite the rise in popularity of mobile and online shopping, you should take these important steps to ensure safe and efficient purchases. Discover the risks of cyberattacks and learn how to protect yourself when shopping online.
What Is Malware?
The biggest risk to your online shopping is a host of cyberattacks, typically referred to as malware, or malicious software. Computer viruses are often described with similar terms as human viruses because they operate similarly and often result in similar symptoms. From slow operation to complete shutdown, there are a range of damages that a malware infection can cause. Others are less invasive and simply add unnecessary pop-ups, demand money or cause one of a host of problems.
Mobile Malware Statistics
It’s no secret that mobile shopping is the new trend. In 2017, e-commerce companies raked in approximately $2.3 trillion in sales. This number has continued to grow and is expected to reach as high as $3.5 trillion by 2021.
As mobile browsing surpasses desktop searches, it’s important to keep your mobile device protected while you browse and buy from online retailers. Here are some of the most common viruses for mobile devices:
- Ransomware Trojans: 2017 saw elevated numbers of ransomware on mobile devices. Ransomware operates by locking either your entire phone or a particular app and demanding payment. Ransomware Trojans mask as a legitimate company or governmental agency in order to confuse or coerce users.
- Mobile-banking Trojans: These attacks masquerade as mobile-banking apps or other apps that ask for your banking information. Some are designed to book hotels, taxis or other services. When you download the false app, it will ask for your banking information. From there, it’s easy for a criminal to use your banking info or identity.
- Installation of malicious packages: Traditional malware attacks can also occur on mobile devices. Just like malware packages on your personal computer, these viruses can come in the form of adware, spyware or other disruptive software.
Do Smartphones Need Antivirus Protection?
Fortunately, malware remains uncommon, and both Android and iOS offer plenty of protection. Typical online shoppers don’t have to worry about viruses or installing an antivirus app. There are, however, a few activities that can put you at greater risk. If you engage in any of these on a routine basis you may want to consider using the latest antivirus protection.
In 2017, there were 5,730,916 reported cases of malicious packages being installed on mobile devices. The biggest risk that your phone or tablet faces is questionable apps. Downloading a Trojan app can allow malware to gain access to all of your personal data. This is particularly important for online shoppers, since it’s completely normal for an online-shopping app to ask for your credit card information. Don’t fall for fake apps. If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of a shopping app, consider using antivirus protection. Or, only use a reputable browser to make online purchases.
You’re still susceptible to cyberattacks even when you shop online with your personal computer. Apps aren’t the only vehicle for malware that targets your personal information. Be wary of emails that offer special deals, promotional rates or sales that don’t appear to be from an official store location. Many malware messages often feature images of a department store sale but may use an unusual email address or a questionable link.
Preventative Measures for Online Shoppers
As an online shopper, here are some great ways you can avoid malware and still get the best deals and discount prices:
- Double-check links: Don’t trust an email with a link that was sent without invitation. If you are part of an email list, or multiple email lists, you should always double-check that the email you’ve received is from the correct mailing-list address. When in doubt, you can always type the link in manually. This avoids many malware strategies.
- Doubt any pop-ups: Although pop-ups may promise exciting deals, declare you’re the grand-prize winner or promote antivirus protection, many viruses are actually malware in disguise. Many ads you see are forms of malware called adware and should be ignored.
- Shop on secure sites: Are you on the correct site for your favorite department store? A common malware tactic is to buy website names that are very similar to genuine ones and set up a fake online store.
- Choose the best antivirus software: Unlike clicking on a pop-up ad, there are many safe and reputable ways to keep your computer protected from viruses or remove any viruses that may already infect your device. It’s essential that you choose from a reputable source, otherwise you may be installing a virus rather than antivirus.
These strategies can help prevent your device from becoming infected as you shop online. Each of these strategies works well for both mobile and PC shopping. There may be a small chance that unusual pop-ups or unexpected emails do contain actual deals, but don’t be tempted to risk the health of your computer for a bargain. You may end up paying far more to replace your device.
Discover the Latest Antivirus Protection
From your smartphone to your home computer, it’s important to use the best antivirus protection available. These programs are updated frequently as new cyberattacks are discovered and neutralized. Shop wisely, because there are many false antivirus apps that infect rather than protect. To protect your device and keep up-to-date with the latest in antivirus protection, contact us today. Shop smarter, save more and stay protected while still getting the best deals online.