Saturday, August 29, 2015

Avoid identity theft and other crimes: Ten tips for safe Cyber Monday shopping

cyber monday

Graphic by Chris Koval

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(Nov. 21, 2012) -- Since its 2005 debut, Cyber Monday, which follows Thanksgiving weekend, has quickly become the biggest online shopping day of the year. It's also a significant day for identity theft and related cybercrimes.

Before you shop online, the UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security suggests you follow these tips to say safe:

1. Look before you click: Clicking is easy. Un-clicking? Not so much. When you hover over a link on a webpage, before clicking, the address you will actually connect to shows up in the bottommost line of the browser. Look. If it does not appear to be the site you intend to visit, find the site through search engines or other means. (IPad users should refrain from tapping. Instead, ""touch and hold." This brings up a window that shows the real address.) This is especially important for links that arrive in email. Phony links in fraudulent emails ("phishing") are the greatest threat to your cyber safety this holiday season.

2. Safe site? Double check: Always look at the address in your browser top line. Make sure the link says "https" for any site on which financial transactions occur. Also look for the lock icon in the address bar. These visual cues indicate that the session is encrypted, safe from eavesdropping.

3. Be WiFfi wary: Don't perform financial or any sensitive information transactions over public or any unsecured wireless connection. Your credentials easily can be compromised

4. Be unique: When you register on a site, use a unique password. Password manager applications such as KeePass, LastPass or PasswordSafe can assist with managing passwords.

5. Nobody's business but your own: Don't let a site store your credit card information, if given the option. The fewer places your data is stored, the less chance for unauthorized disclosure.

6. Too much information: Sharing details of purchases on social media may be fun, but visibility means targeting by fraudsters, thieves and "social engineers."

7. Double check: Review all forms for check boxes selected by default. You can be "opting in" for spam or services of which you are not even aware.

8. Trust but verify: Review transactions at your financial institution regularly for unusual charges. This not only helps you catch fraud early, it also assures there were no errors on the side of the online merchant.

9. Cyber hygiene is critical to safety: Keep your computer up to date. It is vital to install patches and update security fixes when software companies recommend, no matter how busy you are at the time.

10. En garde!: Beware of deals that look too good to be true. They probably are.

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About the CIAS

The UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) is the world's foremost center for multidisciplinary education and development of operational capabilities for infrastructure assurance and security. The CIAS was established as part of UTSA in 2001 and has developed and delivered cyber security training, exercise programs and competitions for the past decade. It is a nationally recognized leader in the advancement of state and community cyber security capabilities and collaboration.

 

 

Did You Know?

UTSA makes the grade with a strong core curriculum

UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.

For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.

Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.

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