As Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to kick off an explosion in online shopping ahead of Christmas, with consumers expected to spend £8bn on deals, too many Welsh shoppers are still not protecting themselves online.
As a result, 17% of online shoppers in Wales are losing money due to a combination of internet scams, weak passwords and misplaced trust in websites.
New research from Sophos by Atomik Research shows Welsh consumers remain at risk of online cyber-attacks as they make some basic security mistakes:
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of survey respondents don’t choose a different password for each online account, which makes them easier to attack one step ahead of cyber criminals.
- 22% admit to using family members’ birthdays and pet names as passwords despite warnings that such information is readily accessible online – giving hackers vital clues to access data.
- One in ten (13%) save their passwords on shared computers, rather than use an ‘on demand’ password manager
Half (50%) of those surveyed who had been victims of fraud say they have had money taken from their bank accounts without permission, 19% have had their credit card cloned and 31% have had their debit card cloned.
Half (51%) online shoppers say they have clicked on an apparently genuine email link that turned out to be fake and a quarter 18% say they have fallen victim to a phishing scam – where cyber criminals trick their victims into handing over user names, passwords and credit card details.
Adam Bradley, UK&I Country Manager at Sophos said:
“The proliferation of online shopping over the past few years means it has become increasingly easy for cyber criminals to harvest data and personal information about consumers. Everyone loves a bargain, especially in the run up to Christmas, but Brits online need to make it harder for fraudsters by taking a few, simple online security steps.”
Sophos recommends taking the following online precautions before hunting for bargains over Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
- Use a web filter – Web filters, like the one included in Sophos Home, stop you from browsing to websites that are known to be used for scams, phishing or spreading malware.
- Use a password manager – Password managers create, remember and enter passwords for you, and they won’t enter your password into a phishing site, no matter how convincing it looks.
- If it looks too good to be true, it is. Scams make wild claims and use familiar brands or friends and family to make them seem trustworthy. Stay alert – if something seems off, it probably is.
- Check your bank statements regularly. You can reduce the chance that you’ll become the victim of a scam but you can’t eliminate it, so make a habit of checking how your money’s spent.