Cybershopping can have security risks - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Cybershopping can have security risks

Posted: Updated:
Shopping online can have its share of security risks. Shopping online can have its share of security risks.
Store wifi hotspots could actually be a hacker in disguise. Store wifi hotspots could actually be a hacker in disguise.
WEST LAFAYETTE -

A big part of the Cyber Monday boom are sales from smartphones and tablet computers, but that fast-growing trend could be risky to your wallet.

One out of every four shoppers shopped online Friday, but did they know how to make sure they were safe?

Footwork is still how most holiday shopping gets done. Mobile devices - with one touch purchasing - accounted for 16 percent of all shopping on Black Friday.

But just as store shoppers can be mugged, mobile device shoppers can be victims, too.

"Everyone should be concerned. I wouldn't say maybe fearful, but I think everyone should be concerned about how you use these kind of things," said Purdue cyber security expert Dr. Samuel Liles.

Liles says bad guys may be after your credit card or login information and more. Those things might be more secure on your home computer, but more vulnerable on a mobile device.

"There's always the man in the middle attack," says Dr. Liles.

Say you're grocery shopping or sitting at the café and want to do a little multi-tasking. So you get the mobile device out and start shopping for the holidays. You're using the store's free wifi, but is it legitimate?

"It may look like it's the access port to the Starbucks or the access port to Walmart. I might walk around with a device that's not much bigger than a cell phone, in fact, I could use my cell phone to create the attack," Liles said.

You thought you were on a favorite store's site, but the bogus wifi he created could take you to a phony place instead to grab your personal information.

"I've had that experience with my credit card numbers being stolen. Another reason I don't like to shop online," shopper Tola Tran said.

To protect yourself look for "https" in the address bar of the browser and/or a padlock logo.

But as Liles checked out some store sites, he found "there's no icon here to tell you that it's secure, so this is not something you want to trust."

If the site loads slowly, you might want to leave it. That could be a sign its not the real thing.

"I've never heard of that fake wifi thing you talked about, but it's kind of startling," said shopper Katie Embry.

Powered by WorldNow