Shopping online just got a little more risky

Deborah Salmi 1 Jul 2015

Shopping online just got a little more risky

One of the largest e-commerce platforms, Magento, has been plagued by hackers who inject malicious code in order to spy and steal credit card data or any other data a customer submits to the system. More than 100,000+ merchants all over the world use Magento platform, including eBay, Nike Running, Lenovo, and the Ford Accessories Online website.

The company that discovered the flaws, Securi Security, says in their blog, “The sad part is that you won’t know it’s affecting you until it’s too late, in the worst cases it won’t become apparent until they appear on your bank statements.”


Minimize your risk for identity theft when shopping online Minimize your risk for identity theft when shopping online

Data breaches are nothing new. The Identity Theft Research Center said there were 761 breaches in 2014 affecting more than 83 million accounts. You probably recall the reports of Sony, Target, Home Depot, and Chic Fil A.

We have heard lots about what we as individual consumers can do to protect ourselves: Use strong passwords, update your antivirus protection and keep your software patched, learn to recognize phishing software, and be wary of fake websites asking for our personal information.

But this kind of hack occurs on trusted websites and show no outward signs that there has been a compromise. The hackers have thoroughly covered their tracks, and you won’t know anything is wrong until you check your credit card bill.

So how do you minimize the risk of online shopping?

  • Use a payment service or your credit card– Experts agree that payment services like PayPal are safe because of their security practices and the encryption technology they use. Just don’t link it to your checking account. Link it to a credit card so you get your credit card’s fraud protections in addition to PayPal’s. If you only use a credit card, designate one card for online purchases so if something unusual happens, you don’t have to track down all your other cards.
  • Keep a paper trail – Once you place your order, print or save records of the transaction. Check your credit card statement to make sure transactions match and there were no unauthorized charges.
  • Avoid shopping while using public Wi-Fi – Unsecure public Wi-Fi hotspots do not give you any protection from hackers who want to monitor what you are doing online. It’s not difficult for someone to intercept and modify communications between you and another site. If you have to do it, then use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so your communications will be encrypted.

What to do if you are caught in a data breach

  1. Get a new card – Either get a replacement card from the company or close your account.
  2. Change your passwords – If you have an account or have done business with any company that falls victim to a breach, then change your password ASAP. It’s a good idea to change all your passwords because hackers sell them to other cybercrooks.
  3. Monitor your bank and credit card statements – Don’t wait for your monthly statement to arrive in the mail. By then, a cybercrook could have done major damage. Check your online statement until your new card arrives. If you see any suspicious charges, report it immediately.
  4. Freeze your credit – you can request that your credit report be frozen from the three main credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This way, no one can access your credit report without your approval.

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