Category Archives: News and Events

Alert: Employment Scam Targeting College Students Remains Prevalent

Via: IC2

“College students across the United States continue to be targeted in a common employment scam. Scammers advertise phony job opportunities on college employment websites, and/or students receive e-mails on their school accounts recruiting them for fictitious positions. This “employment” results in a financial loss for participating students.

How the scam works:

  • Scammers post online job advertisements soliciting college students for administrative positions.
  • The student employee receives counterfeit checks in the mail or via e-mail and is instructed to deposit the checks into their personal checking account.
  • The scammer then directs the student to withdraw the funds from their checking account and send a portion, via wire transfer, to another individual. Often, the transfer of funds is to a “vendor”, purportedly for equipment, materials, or software necessary for the job.
  • Subsequently, the checks are confirmed to be fraudulent by the bank.

The following are some examples of the employment scam e-mails:

“You will need some materials/software and also a time tracker to commence your training and orientation and also you need the software to get started with work. The funds for the software will be provided for you by the company via check. Make sure you use them as instructed for the software and I will refer you to the vendor you are to purchase them from, okay.”

“I have forwarded your start-up progress report to the HR Dept. and they will be facilitating your start-up funds with which you will be getting your working equipment from vendors and getting started with training.”

“Enclosed is your first check. Please cash the check, take $300 out as your pay, and send the rest to the vendor for supplies.”

Consequences of participating in this scam:

  • The student’s bank account may be closed due to fraudulent activity and a report could be filed by the bank with a credit bureau or law enforcement agency.
  • The student is responsible for reimbursing the bank the amount of the counterfeit checks.
  • The scamming incident could adversely affect the student’s credit record.
  • The scammers often obtain personal information from the student while posing as their employer, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Scammers seeking to acquire funds through fraudulent methods could potentially utilize the money to fund illicit criminal or terrorist activity.

Tips on how to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Never accept a job that requires depositing checks into your account or wiring portions to other individuals or accounts.
  • Many of the scammers who send these messages are not native English speakers. Look for poor use of the English language in e-mails such as incorrect grammar, capitalization, and tenses.
  • Forward suspicious e-mails to the college’s IT personnel and report to the FBI. Tell your friends to be on the lookout for the scam.”


Google provides explanation on recent Google Docs campaign

A Google spokesperson shared the following statement with TNW, noting that 0.1 percent of Gmail users were affected. That’s roughly 1 million users, though:

“We realize people are concerned about their Google accounts, and we’re now able to give a fuller explanation after further investigation. We have taken action to protect users against an email spam campaign impersonating Google Docs, which affected fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users. We protected users from this attack through a combination of automatic and manual actions, including removing the fake pages and applications, and pushing updates through Safe Browsing, Gmail, and other anti-abuse systems. We were able to stop the campaign within approximately one hour. While contact information was accessed and used by the campaign, our investigations show that no other data was exposed. There’s no further action users need to take regarding this event; users who want to review third party apps connected to their account can visit Google Security Checkup.”


Article: Mobile Safari Scareware Campaign Thwarted

Via: Lookout Blog

Today, Apple released an update to iOS (10.3) that changed how Mobile Safari handles JavaScript pop-ups, which Lookout discovered scammers using to execute a scareware campaign.

The scammers abused the handling of pop-up dialogs in Mobile Safari in such a way that it would lock out a victim from using the browser. The attack would block use of the Safari browser on iOS until the victim pays the attacker money in the form of an iTunes Gift Card. During the lockout, the attackers displayed threatening messaging in an attempt to scare and coerce victims into paying.

However, a knowledgeable user could restore functionality of Mobile Safari by clearing the browser’s cache via the the iOS Settings — the attack doesn’t actually encrypt any data and hold it ransom. Its purpose is to scare the victim into paying to unlock the browser before he realizes he doesn’t have to pay the ransom to recover data or access the browser.

Lookout found this attack in the wild last month, along with several related websites used in the campaign, discovered the root cause, and shared the details with Apple. As part of the iOS 10.3 patch released today, Apple closed the attack vector by changing how Mobile Safari handles website pop-up dialogs, making them per-tab rather than taking over the entire app. We are publishing these details about the campaign upon the release of iOS 10.3.

An attack like this highlights the importance of ensuring your mobile device, or your employees’ mobile devices, are running up-to-date software. Left unpatched, bugs like this can unnecessarily alarm people and impact productivity.

Discovery event

This attack was initially reported to Lookout’s Support desk by one of our users running iOS 10.2. The user reported that he had lost control of Safari after visiting a website and was no longer able to use the browser. The user provided a screenshot (below) showing a ransomware message from pay-police[.]com, with an overlaid “Cannot Open Page” dialog from Safari. Each time he tapped “OK” he would be prompted to tap “OK” again, effectively putting the browser into an infinite loop of dialog prompts that prevented him from using the browser.

The user reported seeing the “Your device has been locked…” or “…you have to pay the fine of 100 pounds with an iTunes pre-paid card” messages and was no longer able to use the browser.

Abuse of pop-ups in Mobile Safari

The scammers abused the handling of pop-ups in Mobile Safari in such a way that a person would be “locked” out from using Safari unless they paid a fee — or knew they could simply clear Safari’s cache (see next section). The attack was contained within the app sandbox of the Safari browser; no exploit code was used in this campaign, unlike an advanced attack like Pegasus that breaks out of the app sandbox to install malware on the device.

The scammers registered domains and launched the attack from the domains they owned, such as police-pay[.]com, which the attackers apparently named with the intent of scaring users looking for certain types of material on the Internet into paying money. Examples range from pornography to music-oriented websites.

The attackers effectively used fear as a factor to get what they wanted before the victim realized that there was little actual risk.

The attack, based on its code, seems to have been developed for older versions of iOS, such as iOS 8. However, the abuse of pop-ups in Mobile Safari was still possible until iOS 10.3. An endless loop of pop-ups effectively locks up the browser, which prevents the victim from using Safari, unless she resets the browser’s cache. iOS 10.3 doesn’t lock the entire browser up with these pop-ups, rather it runs on a per-tab basis so that if one tab is misbehaving, the user can close it out and/or move to another one.

Quick fix

Before the iOS 10.3 fix was available, the victim could regain access without paying any money. Lookout determined the best course of immediate action for the user who initially reported it was to clear the Safari cache to regain control of the browser. (Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data) Once a person erases all web history and data, effectively starting Safari as a fresh app, the ransom campaign is defeated.

To clear browser history on iOS: Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data

Preventing the attack

Individuals are strongly encouraged to protect their iOS devices against this attack and take advantage of a number of other security patches that Apple made available in iOS 10.3. See for details. Lookout users will be prompted to update their operating system to 10.3 if they have not already done so.

Investigation into the campaign

This attack was documented previously on a Russian website. The JavaScript included some code that specifically set the UserAgent string to match an older iOS version.

The attack code creates a popup window, which infinitely loops until the victim pays the money. The ransom is paid by sending, via SMS, an iTunes gift card code to a phone number displayed on the scam website. The pop-up window error dialog on newer versions of iOS is actually the result of Mobile Safari not being able to find a local URL lookup, so it fails, but keeps presenting the dialog message due to the infinite loop in the code. The JavaScript code is delivered obfuscated, but was de-obfuscated by our analysts to determine its intent.

The JavaScript we obtained from the pay-police[.]com domain was slightly obfuscated using an array of hex values to masque behavior of the code. The pop-up attack on newer versions of iOS appears to DOS (denial of service) the browser.

The group involved in this campaign has purchased a large number of domains that try to catch users that are seeking controversial content on the internet and coerce them into paying a ransom to them.

Each site would serve up a different message based on the country code identifier. The sites, presumably, are used to target users visiting from different parts of the world. Each message has a separate email address for the target to contact, which appear to be country-specific and part of a wider phishing campaign.

The phishing domains and email addresses for each payload:

U.S.: us.html networksafetydept@usa[.]com
Ireland: ie.html justicedept@irelandmail[.]com
UK: gb.html cybercrimegov@europe[.]com
Australia: au.html federaljustice@australiamail[.]com
New Zealand: nz.html cybercrimegov@post[.]com

Lookout researchers continue to monitor this and other related campaigns, as well as work with platform providers to address security concerns as they arise.


Article: Google slaps Symantec for sloppy certs, slow show of SNAFUs

Via: The Register

“Google’s Chrome development team has posted a stinging criticism of Symantec’s certificate-issuance practices, saying it has lost confidence in the company’s practices and therefore in the safety of sessions hopefully-secured by Symantec-issued certificates.

Google’s post says “Since January 19, the Google Chrome team has been investigating a series of failures by Symantec Corporation to properly validate certificates. Over the course of this investigation, the explanations provided by Symantec have revealed a continually increasing scope of misissuance with each set of questions from members of the Google Chrome team; an initial set of reportedly 127 certificates has expanded to include at least 30,000 certificates, issued over a period spanning several years.”

Googler Ryan Sleevi unloads on Symantec as follows:

“Symantec allowed at least four parties access to their infrastructure in a way to cause certificate issuance, did not sufficiently oversee these capabilities as required and expected, and when presented with evidence of these organizations’ failure to abide to the appropriate standard of care, failed to disclose such information in a timely manner or to identify the significance of the issues reported to them.These issues, and the corresponding failure of appropriate oversight, spanned a period of several years, and were trivially identifiable from the information publicly available or that Symantec shared.”

The post gets worse, for Symantec:

“The full disclosure of these issues has taken more than a month. Symantec has failed to provide timely updates to the community regarding these issues. Despite having knowledge of these issues, Symantec has repeatedly failed to proactively disclose them.  Further, even after issues have become public, Symantec failed to provide the information that the community required to  assess the significance of these issues until they had been specifically questioned. The proposed remediation steps offered by Symantec have involved relying on known-problematic information or using practices insufficient to provide the level of assurance required under the Baseline Requirements and expected by the Chrome Root CA Policy.”

The upshot is that Google feels it can “no longer have confidence in the certificate issuance policies and practices of Symantec over the past several years” and it therefore proposes three remedies:

  • A reduction in the accepted validity period of newly issued Symantec-issued certificates to nine months or less, in order to minimize any impact to Google Chrome users from any further misissuances that may arise.
  • An incremental distrust, spanning a series of Google Chrome releases, of all currently-trusted Symantec-issued certificates, requiring they be revalidated and replaced.
  • Removal of recognition of the Extended Validation status of Symantec issued certificates, until such a time as the community can be assured in the policies and practices of Symantec, but no sooner than one year.

The first remedy will mean that Chrome stops trusting Symantec-issued certificates as outlined in the table below.

Chrome version Cert validity period
Chrome 59 (Dev, Beta, Stable) 33 months (1023 days)
Chrome 60 (Dev, Beta, Stable) 27 months (837 days)
Chrome 61 (Dev, Beta, Stable) 21 months (651 days)
Chrome 62 (Dev, Beta, Stable) 5 months (465 days)
Chrome 63 (Dev, Beta) 9 months (279 days)
Chrome 63 (Stable) 5 months (465 days)
Chrome 64 (Dev, Beta, Stable) 9 months (279 days)

Google reckons this plan will mean “web developers are aware of the risk and potential of future distrust of Symantec-issued certificates, should additional misissuance events occur, while also allowing them the flexibility to continue using such certificates should it be necessary.”

And of course it also gives developers time to arrange new certificates from whatever issuer pleases them most.

Symantec has told The Register it is developing a response to Google’s allegations. We will add it to this story as soon as we receive it.”

Additional information can be found Here.


Article: Data Breaches Skyrocketing In NY, A Million People Exposed


“The reported number of data breaches jumped 60 percent in 2016, mostly by hackers. See tips on how to protect yourself.

Data breaches, mostly by hackers, are skyrocketing, according to a new report from the state Attorney General.

In 2016, the personal records of 1.6 million New Yorkers were exposed as data breaches jumped 60 percent over the previous year. Social Security and financial information were the primary targets.

‘In 2016, New Yorkers were the victims of one of the highest data exposure rates in our state’s history,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in an announcement about the data. “The total annual number of reported security breaches increased by 60% and the number of exposed personal records tripled. Hacking is increasingly prevalent – making it all the more important for companies and citizens alike to take precaution when sharing and storing personal data. It’s on all of us to guard against those who try to use our personal information for harm – as these breaches too often jeopardize the financial health of New Yorkers and cost the public and private sectors billions of dollars.’

Four times out of 1o, the data breach was because someone hacked in from outside. Another 14 percent of the time, the breach was by a skimming device. Only 1.48 percent of the time was it due to theft of something like a phone or computer.

It wasn’t always personally and maliciously targeted, though. This past year, employee negligence, namely the inadvertent exposure of records, accounted for 24 percent of breaches.

And what personal records were most exposed?

The most frequently acquired information in 2016 was Social Security numbers and financial account information, which together accounted for 81 percent of breaches in New York. Other records such as driver’s license numbers (8 percent), date of birth (7 percent) and password/account information (2 percent) together accounted for 1,284,037 of exposed personal records in 2016.

While they get big headlines, mega-breaches were not all that common in 2016, Schneiderman’s office said.

On October 12, 2016, Newkirk Products, Inc., a business associate of Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Inc., CDPHP Universal Benefits, Inc., and Capital District Physicians’ Healthcare Network, Inc., reported exposing the personal health information of 761,782 New Yorkers. The next largest breach, reported on January 13, 2016, was at HSBC bank. It exposed the financial, personal, and social security information of 251,201 New Yorkers. Additionally, breaches at Eddie Bauer and Emblem Health reportedly affected 60,205 and 55,664 New Yorkers in August and November, respectively.

The Attorney General’s Office suggests that consumers guard against threats in these ways:

  • Create Strong Passwords for Online Accounts and Update Them Frequently. Use different passwords for different accounts, especially for websites where you have disseminated sensitive information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers.
  • Carefully Monitor Credit Card and Debit Card Statements Each Month. If you find any abnormal transactions, contact your bank or credit card agency immediately.
  • Do Not Write Down or Store Passwords Electronically. If you do, be extremely careful of where you store passwords. Be aware that any passwords stored electronically (such as in a word processing document or cell phone’s notepad) can be easily stolen and provide fraudsters with one-stop shopping for all your sensitive information. If you hand-write passwords, do not store them in plain sight.
  • Do Not Post Any Sensitive Information on Social Media. Information such as birthdays, addresses, and phone numbers can be used by fraudsters to authenticate account information. Practice data minimization techniques. Don’t overshare.
  • Always Be Aware of the Current Threat Landscape. Stay up to date on media reports of data security breaches and consumer advisories.”


Multifactor Authentication Enrollment

Vulnerability Discovered in Cisco’s WebEx Extension for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer

Cisco has recently disclosed a vulnerability in its WebEx extensions for Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. This vulnerability affects all Windows machines that have the WebEx extension installed. If this vulnerability is not addressed, an attacker could execute remote code onto your computer.

If you use WebEx, an application for online meetings, with Google Chrome, it is vital that you update to version 1.0.7, the latest extension. Cisco continues to work on similar updates for Firefox and Internet Explorer. Until these updates are released, we advise you to remove those extensions from your Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers. See below for instructions.

To check for and update the Cisco WebEx Chrome extension:

  1. Open your Google Chrome browser.

  2. Type chrome://extensions into the address bar and hit Enter.

  3. Scroll down until you see the entry for the Cisco WebEx extension (extensions are organized alphabetically).

    • If the Cisco WebEx extension is not present or the version number for the WebEx Extension is 1.0.7, there is nothing more you need to do.

    • If the version number is not equal to 1.0.7, check the Developer mode box in the top right corner of the page.

      • This will reveal a button in the top right corner called Update extensions now. Click the Update extensions now button.

      • Once the update runs, the WebEx extension version should be 1.0.7.

To remove the extension from Firefox:

  1. Open your Mozilla Firefox browser.

  2. Type about:addons into the address bar and hit enter.

  3. On the sidebar select Extensions.

  4. Scroll down until you see the entry for the Cisco WebEx extension (extensions are organized alphabetically).

  5. Click remove.

  6. Restart your browser.

To remove the extension from Internet Explorer:

  1. Open your Internet Explorer browser.

  2. Press ALT + X to open the menu.

  3. Click Manage Add-ons

  4. Under Show, select All Add-Ons.

  5. Scroll down until you see the entry for the Cisco WebEx extension (extensions are organized alphabetically).

  6. Click remove.

  7. Restart your browser.

The UISO advises you to stay up to date with the latest OS, application, and security updates, which can be found on Fordham IT’s UISO social media sites.

For any IT security concerns, contact IT Customer Care at 718-817-3999 or

For more information on the vulnerability visit Cisco’s advisory post.

Article: Hacked Yahoo Data Is for Sale on Dark Web

“Some time around August 2013, hackers penetrated the email system of Yahoo, one of the world’s largest and oldest providers of free email services. The attackers quietly scooped up the records of more than 1 billion users, including names, birth dates, phone numbers and passwords that were encrypted with an easily broken form of security.

The intruders also obtained the security questions and backup email addresses used to reset lost passwords — valuable information for someone trying to break into other accounts owned by the same user, and particularly useful to a hacker seeking to break into government computers around the world: Several million of the backup addresses belonged to military and civilian government employees from dozens of nations, including more than 150,000 Americans.

No one knows what happened to the data during the next three years. But last August, a geographically dispersed hacking collective based in Eastern Europe quietly began offering the whole database for sale, according to Andrew Komarov, chief intelligence officer at InfoArmor, an Arizona cybersecurity firm, who monitors the dark corners of the internet inhabited by criminals, spies and spammers. Three buyers — two known spammers and an entity that appeared more interested in espionage — paid about $300,000 each for a complete copy of the database, he said.

The attack, which Yahoo disclosed on Wednesday, is the largest known data breach of a company. And neither Yahoo nor the public had any idea it had occurred until a month ago, when law enforcement authorities came to the company with samples of the hacked data from an undisclosed source.

Yahoo still does not know who broke into its systems in 2013, how they got in or what they did with the data, the company said Wednesday. It has made more progress tracking down a separate hacking episode in 2014, which compromised 500 million email accounts and was disclosed in September. The company has said it believes the 2014 attack was sponsored by a government entity but has not identified it.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that it was investigating the Yahoo breach. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York also said his office was in touch with Yahoo to examine the circumstances of the data breach.

Security experts and former government officials warned that the real danger of the Yahoo attack was not that hackers gained access to Yahoo users’ email accounts, but that they obtained the credentials to hunt down more lucrative information about their targets wherever it resided across the web.

“This wasn’t an attack against Yahoo, but rather reconnaissance to launch other campaigns,” said Oren Falkowitz, a former analyst at the National Security Agency who now runs Area 1, a Silicon Valley security start-up.

“Inactive or not, a billion user accounts and hashes means attackers have a golden key for new phishing attacks,” he said. In a phishing attack, a hacker often poses as a trusted contact and tries to induce the recipient of an email to click on a malicious link or share sensitive information.

Users routinely ignore advice to use different passwords for their different accounts across the web, which means a stolen Yahoo user name and password could open the door to more sensitive information in online-banking, corporate or government email accounts.

Mr. Komarov said the group that hacked Yahoo in 2013, which he calls Group E, appeared to be motivated by money, not politics. It is believed to have broken into the systems of major American internet companies like LinkedIn, Myspace, Dropbox and Tumblr, as well as foreign-owned services like VKontakte, a Russian social network similar to Facebook.

Group E sometimes sells complete copies of the data, Mr. Komarov said. It also combines information from different hacking forays into a master database. Like a corporate marketer, it peddles chunks of the data to spammers seeking to reach specific audiences, like middle-aged women who live in certain ZIP codes. It sometimes operates through intermediaries.

That database of 1 billion Yahoo accounts, Mr. Komarov said, is still for sale, although current bids are coming in at $20,000 to $50,000 since the data is much less valuable now that Yahoo has changed the passwords.”


Article: 1 Billion Yahoo Accounts Stolen

“Yahoo has suffered another hack.

The company disclosed today that it has discovered a breach of more than one billion user accounts that occurred in August 2013. The breach is believed to be separate and distinct from the theft of data from 500 million accounts that Yahoo reported this September.

Troublingly, Yahoo’s chief information security officer Bob Lord says that the company hasn’t been able to determine how the data from the one billion accounts was stolen. ‘We have not been able to identify the intrusion associated with this theft,’ Lord wrote in a post announcing the hack.

‘The stolen user account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers,’ Lord added.

Yahoo was alerted to the massive breach by law enforcement and has examined the data with the help of outside forensic experts. The data does not appear to include payment details or plaintext passwords, but it’s still bad news for Yahoo account holders. The hashing algorithm MD5 is no longer considered secure and MD5 hashes can easily be looked up online to discover the passwords they hide.

Yahoo says it is notifying the account holders affected in the breach. Affected users will be required to change their passwords.

Yahoo also announced today that its proprietary code had been accessed by a hacker, who used the code to forge cookies that could be used to access accounts without a password. ‘The outside forensic experts have identified user accounts for which they believe forged cookies were taken or used. We are notifying the affected account holders, and have invalidated the forged cookies,’ Lord said, adding that he believed the attack was launched by a state-sponsored actor.

Today’s revelations add to Yahoo’s long string of security problems. Yahoo employees reportedly knew of the intrusion that led to the theft of data from 500 million users as early as 2014, but the company did not announce the breach until this September. What Yahoo executives knew about the breach, and when they knew it, have been crucial questions in Verizon’s ongoing acquisition of Yahoo. Yahoo did not disclose the first breach until several months after the deal was announced.”

“What can users do to protect their account?

  • Change your passwords and security questions and answers for any other accounts on which you used the same or similar information used for your Yahoo account;
  • Review all of your accounts for suspicious activity;
  • Be cautious of any unsolicited communications that ask for your personal information or refer you to a web page asking for personal information;
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails; and
  • Consider using Yahoo Account Key, a simple authentication tool that eliminates the need to use a password on Yahoo altogether.”


Article: How to protect yourself while online shopping for the holidays

A recent article from Mashable provides researched geared towards protecting yourself online while shopping for the holidays:


With many retailers offering internet-only promotions to go along with their in-store doorbusters, more Americans than ever seem to be choosing to stay home to take advantage of the best deals of the season.

Research from Visa projects an 18 percent increase in online holiday spending this year, which follows 16 percent growth over the 2015 season from the year before. That uptick in 2015 resulted in about $11 billion of online sales over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend period (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday). That’s why it’s essential that shoppers protect themselves and their personal information more than ever in 2016. Especially since “25 percent of all security breaches [are] taking place in the retail sector,” said Experts Exchange COO Gene Richardson in a statement to Mashable.

As a former head of the data security teams of IBM, Charles Schwab and Motorola, Richardson has extensive experience advising companies and consumers alike on how to avoid fraud and protect their identities online.

With that in mind, he’s assembled a set of helpful online shopping safety tips:

1. Ensure that the website address is secure and has a valid encryption certificate. It will usually display a “locked, green” indicator in front of the website name. If it doesn’t have that, it does not have a higher level of security that has been guaranteed by a known entity like Verisign, Symantec and others.

2. Ensure your system has the most recent recommended system and security patches.

3. Always use a credit card that is not tied directly to your personal bank account(s), even if you are using PayPal, Bitcoin or some other payment method.

4. Never give anything other than name, address and phone number. You should not need to answer security or privacy questions when making a purchase or checking out. If they ask, see if you can checkout as a “guest” instead.

5. Monitor your credit through a third party for identify theft and have SMS and email alerts sent to you immediately.

6. Set-up alerts with your credit card company that send both SMS and emails when any purchases are made and the credit card was not scanned (meaning, it wasn’t in someone’s hand when the charge was made). Set them as low as $25 per purchase. Also, set-up alerts for total purchases over $500 in a billing period to protect multiple $24.99 purchases. And if possible, a maximum amount of purchases allowed in a billing period such as $1500 before card will get declined.

7. Ensure that you have a reputable Antivirus program running on your computer and that your browser has an Ad blocking plug-in.

8. Ensure that the network your computer/device is on is secure and you know who has access to your network. This is usually done with your router. You want to lock down your router so that traffic can be initiated from the inside-out but you do not want traffic to be initiated from the outside-in. If you are using a WiFi connection, make sure that network is also secure and requires a password to join. If it is a public WiFi network that doesn’t require a password, then the traffic coming from your device can be monitored and stolen.

9. Any passwords that you use should be strong, hard to guess ones. Or, even better, hard to guess, but easy to remember.

10. Don’t click on unfamiliar links to sites advertising sales, coupons, etc.

11. Use two-factor authentication/verification, if it is offered.

Mobile Concerns

To stay safe while shopping on your phone or tablet, be sure to follow these tips, according to RiskIQ:

1. Only download apps from official app marketplaces like Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

2. Be wary of applications that ask for suspicious permissions, like access to contacts, text messages, administrative features, stored passwords, or credit card info.

3. Check out the background of an app before downloading. Research the developer and be cognizant of the spelling of brand names.

4. Make sure to take a deep look at each app. New developers, or developers that leverage free email services (e.g., @gmail) for their developer contact, can be enormous red flags — threat actors often use these services to produce mass amounts of malicious apps in a short period. Also, poor grammar in the description highlights the haste of development and the lack of marketing professionalism that are hallmarks of mobile malware campaigns.

Common Sense

Just like any other time of the year, a deal found online over Thanksgiving weekend that seems too good to be true might be just that.

In addition to Richardson’s first tip about web page encryption certificates, always check website addresses after following links on Twitter, Facebook or even Google to be sure you haven’t been redirected. Legitimate retailers will almost always be determined by the “S” in HTTPS at retail sites.

Finally, keep your personal and financial information close at hand. Never provide anything until you’ve done your homework on a site or app, and even then never input anything until you’ve selected your purchase and are checking out.

With a measured approach to online shopping, you can dodge the in-store lines and the security risks this holiday season.