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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.


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.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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