13 February 2018

Kaspersky Lab shares security tips ahead of Chinese new year

Chinatown, Singapore features dogs for the new year.
Chinatown in Singapore features dogs in a focal display.

In the euphoria and adrenaline rush of shopping for Chinese new year, Kaspersky Lab warns that shoppers are more likely to make basic mistakes that can expose their personal data.

GM, Kaspersky Lab Southeast Asia Sylvia Ng explained that the brand understands festive season shopping is a priority for consumers but reminds that it is also a prime opportunity for cyber criminals. Public Wi-Fi is one security concern, for example. Cybercriminals can monitor all the information sent across public Wi-Fi networks, which can include bank accounts or credit card numbers.

“Get your shopping done safely. Sipping on an espresso at a local coffee house and doing your Internet shopping does seems convenient. However, you open yourself up to criminal activity by doing so. Public Wi-Fi networks are often less secure than private ones, and you risk the possibility of logging onto a phantom network instead of the real one, opening you up to potential identity theft,” she said.

Shop on any Wi-Fi network only after checking that it is secure and a trusted network, Kaspersky Lab said.

Other common mistakes include:

Being duped into using a fake website that looks like the user's bank or payment system. Kaspersky Lab suggests paying attention to the https prefix, which indicates an encrypted connection, and checking if the web address has been misspelled. Virtual keyboards - the keyboards displayed on the screen - may protect passwords from being intercepted by some types of key logger software.

Ransomware. Kaspersky Lab suggests not opening email attachments from unknown shopping sites, and backing up files.

Phishing. Do not click on unexpected links sent via email - including shipping confirmation emails - SMS, or message apps. Gifts might turn out to contain adware or worse. And these days, whole identities can be replicated and phishing links may come from what looks like friends.

Weak passwords. Kaspersky's password checker can give an indication whether a password is easily cracked.

Shopping at dodgy sites. Kaspersky's advice is to browse reviews before trusting online shopping sites with credit card information.

Using Bluetooth. A cellular connection makes a smartphone connection more secure.

“These tips that we share are culled from real-life experiences of people. So, before you click on any deal, make sure that you are going to trusted sites. If you find a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is,” added Ng.

Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies. The company has 270,000 corporate clients.