Online identity thieves staying one step ahead
Although consumer awareness of online security threats has improved in recent times, so too have the tactics deployed by clever identity thieves.
With Cyber Monday just around the corner, online shoppers and retailers will soon face a stiff test. According to the Huffington Post, the evolution of tips and tricks used by cybercriminals has outpaced consumer education. Although many web users are familiar with basic defense strategies like firewalls and antivirus protection, a new wave of "socially engineered" threats are targeting potential victims with more convincing bait.
The advanced tactics appear to be working. According to the 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, 40 percent of all identity theft victims have had their data abused during an online transaction.
Defending against highly-skilled hackers is no easy task for the common consumer, but there are still a number of effective ways to protect personal information in online environments.
According to identity protection specialists at IdentityHawk, consumers must be certain that they are only shopping on secure sites. Before making any transactions, make sure the merchant has a closed padlock displayed in the browser status bar and the URL address is preceded by s-hhtp or https. Shoppers preferring the convenience of one-click checkouts are also encouraged to keep their account information secure by using a password manager tool.