As mobile online shopping grows in popularity so do the risks to data protection | Bangkok Post: tech

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As mobile online shopping grows in popularity so do the risks to data protection

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Smarphone and tablet owners distracted by the festive season could be more vulnerable to cyber fraud and malware. 

Don't gift your personal information or account details to cyber criminals during the festive season. ©Vivi-o/

Tablets are not only set to be the most popular tech gift this holiday season on both sides of the Atlantic, the latest internet use statistics show that they are increasingly being used for mobile online shopping. According to Callcredit, tablet click volume rose by 400 percent year-on-year in Q 3 2012 and smartphones are expected to account for over 15 percent of retailers' online revenue during November and December in the UK.

This growing trend has led Callcredit to issue a warning to tablet and smartphone owners to remain vigilant as the festive period is typically a time of the year when people are distracted, therefore increasing their risk of succumbing to online fraud or data theft.

The latest Kaspersky Lab research shows that 65 percent of smartphone owners, 16 percent of laptop owners and 50 percent of Macbook owners across Europe and the US do not bother to protect their device -- whether through anti-virus software or increased security settings, leaving a wealth of personal information easily accessible to cybercriminals.

To help combat such threats, Callcredit has issued a list of top tips that it hopes will keep mobile device users safe as the new year approaches.

• Create a password for your smartphone or tablet - this can help reduce thieves shopping on your mobile device if stolen, giving you the chance to cancel/freeze accounts before fraudulent activity takes place.
• Make sure you buy from a secure website that uses encryption - look out for those that have 'https' and a padlock symbol in the bottom corner of the screen -- that means your payment details will be encrypted.
• Ensure your mobile device has the latest anti-virus and firewall software - as shopping on mobile devices increases it is important to take the same precautions as you would at home when shopping online. The threats and viruses are just as prevalent on a smartphone or tablet.
• Beware of spurious apps - fraudsters are now becoming more sophisticated in the tools they utilize to capture personal data.
• Check your credit report for suspicious activity - your credit report holds a record of all your financial commitments and can be one of the first places to identify fraudulent activity. If your report shows any accounts or addresses that aren't yours or applications for credit that you know nothing about, contact the credit report provider who will help to get this corrected.

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