Cybercriminals are now using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to lure unsuspecting consumers to malicious sites.
Below, Trend Micro has compiled the threats that every online shopper should be wary of.
Coupons & Advertisements That Put the ‘red’ in Rudolph’s Nose
- Discounts, coupons and special offers are used by malware authors to entice users into clicking malicious links
- Advertisements placed on high-trafficked websites such as Twitter and Facebook are sometimes used as triggers for malware downloads
Fake Charity Sites Abusing Generosity, Rewarding Scrooges
- The holiday seasons sets most users into a “giving mood”, making the holidays the perfect time for scammers and malware authors to carry out their schemes
Greeting Cards Delivering Bad Tidings and Viruses
- E-cards are often used by spammers and malware authors as a decoy for users to click malicious links. This type of attack usually takes advantage of holiday seasons, when users are likely to send out e-cards
- Clicking the link or opening the attachment then leads to malware being downloaded into the affected system
Holiday Shopping Search Results
- Query results for certain strings are rigged with a malicious script that leads to various payloads
- In certain cases, malware authors bank on different seasons in choosing which strings will yield the malicious results
Gift Cards Giveth and Gift Cards Taketh
- Shopping rewards such as gift cards or cash may be used to lure users into participating in a survey
- What the user does not know is that the survey page is actually a phishing site and that it is part of a plot to steal confidential information
The kids are back at school, and we’re heading into fall. I’m sure for most families they’ve started their daily routines, which consist of something along the lines of making sure the kids are picked up on time, dinner is on the table, the pets are taken care of and everyone’s homework is completed before going to bed at a reasonable time. It feels like we’re trying to pack more and more activities into our days, and the days aren’t getting any longer. At least when it comes to homework, today’s kids have the benefit of the Internet and having millions of resources at their fingertips to help with their homework. It’s amazing how times have changed.
Now I have children of my own; two tweens whom use computers on a daily basis. Instead of whines of boredom or cries for homework help in the house, I have noticed as my kids have gotten older that they are fewer and far between. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish those moments of peace. That said, I know that those quiet moments are given to me by what I call the “one-eyed babysitter” – the computer. Like most moms, I work outside the home. The difference is just who I work for and what I do. I work for a large Internet Security company and focus my attention on technology that keeps families safe from Internet threats. Those peaceful moments usually signal one thing to me. My children are playing on the Internet surfing the Web, emailing, texting and doing much more.
The Internet gives us so much useful, important and educational information. At the same time – as a mother and a security expert I know that the Internet could prove to be a danger for my family. Every family has to deal with these security issues when they have technology that connects to the Web including PCs, MACs, iPhones, iTouches etc. It’s imperative that everyone, including the children, know about the potential dangers in order to surf the web safely. Talking to your children about online safety is just as important as having the most up-to-date security software. Sitting down with your children at the computer and showing them the various threats and how to avoid them is one way to introduce cyber safety. However, most parents that I talk to are not aware of all the latest threats online.
When it comes to kids’ online safety, there are some areas of risk that my company Trend Micro has identified. What parents need to know is that kids are at risk of the following:
- Being targeted by aggressive or unwanted commercialism (ads or marketing that is intrusive and/or age-inappropriate). Some sites for kids are guilty of serving up ads that are simply inappropriate for kids (such as dating services, gambling sites). They are funded through advertising money, and are careless about thinking through the implications of the ads they are showing to the users of their sites. Some ads are designed to be so engaging, the child thinks it’s a game and not an ad, so they are enticed to click away. This could end up infecting their parents’ computers with malicious software that can spy and/or steal information from them.
- Being a victim of security threats such as hack attacks or scams. Social networking sites are popular among young people and cybercriminals alike. While kids are not necessarily the intended victims of crime perpetrated on these sites, they can be at risk simply because they use them. Some cybercrimes are designed to impact as many people as possible – they do not discriminate based on age. Criminals will use techniques that seem normal to the average user to lead someone to download malicious software without their knowledge (a technique called social engineering). An example of this is when a young person is offered to view a racy photo or video of someone.
- Being more uninhibited with what they say or do online because they believe they have anonymity. Kids can put themselves at risk, too. Posting information or photos of themselves that they did not intend the world to see can damage their reputations, candidacy for a job, or admission to a college. Posting too much personally identifying information (PII) can open themselves up to identity theft (even kids can be victims of this). Harassing others, if considered violent, lewd, or racist can be considered a crime. Creating or distributing music, movies, or video games that are illegally copied or infringe on copyrights is illegal.
I don’t want to cause unnecessary alarm and give doomsday predications. I believe that knowledge is the best armor when dealing with the above topics. The Internet is a necessary tool in the digital age and can help educate the family in numerous ways. What I find is that parents truly want to help protect against the pitfalls but are unaware of the tools to use in order to do so. Part of the solution is relying on good old fashion parenting skills – time limits, open conversation etc. The other part of the solution lies in technology that can help limit the risk and act as a tool to continue talks with kids. Using both techniques, you’ll keep you and your family safe from online threats and enjoy all the positives that the Web offers.