However, doing so entails a different kind of disadvantage: the risk of being victimized by scammers in the Internet. The web is full of baddies, in case you didn't already know.
Good thing antivirus giant Kaspersky recently gave us several tips on how to protect ourselves from these opportunists. And because we'd like to spread the word, we'll let you in on it, too.
1) Be cautious of ransomware
Ransomware a.k.a. a software that prevents you from using a PC or its features unless money is paid is a huge pain in the ass once you get infected. According to Kaspersky, one way to avoid this kind of malware is to not open suspicious emails or files from shady shopping sites. Email is a primary way used by ransomware creators to spread their mischief, so be careful when you check and open new messages.
2) Don't be fooled by "free gifts"
You might receive an unexpected email, SMS, or even a private message saying you've won something from a particular vendor. Before you fist bump your bros and click on the link, be warned! Doing so might make you a victim of phishing, a method used to obtain private info such as passwords and credit card credentials. Basically, online criminals masquerade as a legit entity that sends messages with links that inject phishing malware into computers.
3) Shop only via trustworthy online stores
Check reviews of different online shops to see which are authentic and which are prone or have been used by cybercriminals for their misdeeds. You could also install an antivirus software which can tell you the shopping URLs that are safe to click.
4) Be creative with your passwords
Our passwords are our first line of defense against scams and other forms of online attacks. So, get creative! The harder it is to guess, the more protected your online info will be.
5) Don't shop using public Wi-Fi
It's nice that it's free. However, public Wi-Fi also offers very little protection against hacking. Since public hotspots are not secure, hackers can easily tune in to the information exchanged over the network. This may include credit card information if you're doing online shopping inside your favorite coffee shop.
6) Turn off your Bluetooth
According to Kaspersky, they detected 323,374 new mobile malware programs in the third quarter of this year alone. Yes—even your smartphone can be a target, too. The antivirus vendor tells us to turn off our Bluetooth when not needed to avoid cyber snooping, which can lead to our phones getting hacked and our best-kept secrets—from videos (*wink*) to private information—accessed via malware.
If you really need to shop using your mobile device, do so using data or a secure Wi-Fi connection instead.
7) Think before you click
This is one of online security's most important commandments. It's also the easiest to follow. Is that email/link/offer/free gift safe or not? Being a skeptic in this regard goes a long way.
Images via Pcworld.com, Blog.kaspersky.com
GIFs via Giphy.com, Gifsec.com, Buzzfeed.com, Dribbble.com, Cnet.com
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