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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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AhnLab Offers Advice on Safe Online Shopping for Cyber Monday
Heavy Online Shopping Day Can Spoil Holiday Season With Security Threats

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA and SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/21/12 -- AhnLab, a leading provider of information security products and services for consumers, today warned consumers who will be shopping online this holiday season to take precautions to protect their bank accounts and credit cards from fraud and their systems from Malware/Virus infection on Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday shopping season.

According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 52 percent of American consumers will turn to the Internet for holiday shopping this year which is a five percent increase from last year. The NRF says this is the first year the majority of holiday shopping will be done online and that consumers will spend an average of $750 each. Additionally, about 53 percent of smartphone users and 64 percent of tablet users will use mobile devices to research gifts, stores and deals, and make purchases. According to Shop.org, online holiday spending this year is forecast to be almost $96 billion.

According to David Perry, director of security education, AhnLab, while Cyber Monday might be the biggest online shopping day of the year, it also might be the biggest day for online fraud and theft.

"Who doesn't shop online? You avoid the rain and snow, the crowds, the parking and all the madness by shopping online, and if you are diligent you can almost always get a better deal online," said Perry. "The miracle of the Internet, however, is a two way street and just as it makes it easy for you to shop, buy and ship that gift, it also makes it easy for you to fall victim of fraud, theft and forgery. Play it safe this year, and protect your hard earned cash."

AhnLab offers these tips for online shoppers this holiday season:

1. Start with a clean machine: make sure that your computer is malware free before you ever buy online. The most common cybercrime involves planting a spyware agent on your system to capture your account password, your credit card number or other high risk data as you are using it. Update your Internet security program and do a full scan the night before your online shopping spree. This is the ounce of prevention that's worth a pound of cure. When your machine is clean, it eliminates the ability of a key logger from stealing your credit card number even if you are entering it into your PayPal account.

2. Shop with vendors who offer their own accounts. Companies like Amazon.com and eBay take cyber security very seriously and offer a measure of protection against online fraud. You still have to be diligent, but established brands that offer end user accounts are a safer way to go. It's easy to see a great deal on a great product on a site you have never heard of, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful about clicking through on links on unfamiliar sites as they can trigger malware or a virus.

3. Use PayPal (or another personal account) whenever possible to make purchases instead of using your own credit card as PayPal uses a secondary form of authentication to keep your credit card in one place instead of every store you shop. And if you must use your credit card, check activity regularly to guard against fraud. The law limits your liability to only $50, but only if you detect the fraud in the first 30 days. At no time should you shop online with a debit card. The law offers you no protection for online fraud in a debit card purchase. Keep a printed record of every transaction for every gift. You might need to exchange or return it.

4. Check your card statement every month. This would be the first place you would ever see evidence of banking fraud. This is something that happens every day, and while banks are improving at detecting fraud, online fraud still happens. Remember, the burden of detecting the crime is on your shoulders, and it is your money.

For more tips on safe holiday shopping, go to: http://www.fbi.gov/news/news_blog/holiday-shopping-tips.

About AhnLab

Headquartered in South Korea and with US HQ in San Francisco, AhnLab Inc. (KRX: 053800) develops industry-leading security solutions and provides professional services that are designed to secure and protect critical business and personal information. As a leading innovator in the information security arena for more than 20 years, AhnLab' s cutting edge products and services fulfilling the stringent security requirements of both enterprises and individual users.

AhnLab' s products and services include anti-virus solutions, network, mobile and online game security, security management and consulting services. Today, AhnLab boasts a network of sales and research operations in more than 20 countries worldwide.

For more information on AhnLab, go to www.ahnlab.com or +1-866 666-3080

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