Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

With the Christmas shopping season upon us, why wait in line at a mall when you can shop on the go with your mobile device? Thanks to the bevy of mobile shopping apps available, you can now beat the crowds and score the best holiday deals. And you won’t be alone: according to ABI research, nearly half of all smart phone owners have shopped or plan to shop on their mobile phone.

“But attention bargain hunters: you’re also being hunted,” says Lloyd Borrett, Security Evangelist at AVG (AU/NZ). “Don’t forget smart phones are portable computers, and like any computer, they can be hacked and attacked for any account, financial and other personal info that might be on them.”

“So, to help you shop smart with your mobile cart, we suggest these five safety tips to help you be more secure when you shop on your mobile.”

1. Not everyone online wishes you a merry Christmas. Public Wi-Fi is a great means of browsing retailers on the go, but be cautious when providing personal information like credit card numbers or passwords. You could be opening a back door for hackers and spammers. You wouldn’t invite a stranger into your home, so why do the same to your mobile device. Don’t give away your credit card details over open unsecured Wi-Fi.

2. Be aware of the entire URL. Many smaller mobile devices don’t show the full web address, or hide it completely. Hackers are aware of this and may attach information at the end of URLs to lead you to corrupt sites. If the site name is unrecognisable, check before you click.

3. There’s an app for that. Whether it’s an app for price comparison or an app from your favourite retailer, check with the app’s parent company to make sure it’s legitimate, and read the app’s privacy policy before you install it. The most important thing is to trust your instincts. AVG DroidSecurity for all Android devices can help with free automatic scans for malware in apps.

4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid clicking on suspicious links that claim to offer free products or amazing deals. Everyone loves free things or deals that offer unbeatable savings, and hackers love taking advantage of this by offering links to fraudulent sites.

5. Lock it down. Password-protect your private information and data. Mobile devices are easy to lose, and a lost phone can put you at risk of a phishing scam or identity theft if your accounts are accessed.

AVG (AU/NZ) has a comprehensive range of security tips on its web site at http://www.avg.com.au/resources/security-tips/. For some video tips from AVG (AU/NZ), see http://www.youtube.com/user/avgaunz.

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