|By Business Wire
|February 7, 2013 11:52 AM EST
Whether you decide to give flowers, chocolates or something a little
more unusual as the perfect symbol of your affection this Valentine’s
Day, make sure you take extra precautions when ordering online. That’s
the advice being given by AVG
Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG). AVG warns that as more and more
expressions of love are being bought online, buyers’ heightened states
of emotion may bring increased risks to their browsing computer or
mobile device, and their online identity.
Tony Anscombe, AVG’s Senior Security Evangelist, explains: “The kinds of
emotions involved in Valentine’s Day preparations, whether love or total
panic in some cases, can often cause people to act without their usual
level of care. The danger is that we become so focused on the act of
giving or receiving affection that we become less alert to the tricks of
cybercriminals looking to prey on our vulnerabilities and our
“Young or old, we all still love the idea of having an admirer. The
consequence of this is that we are much more likely to accept an
unsolicited Facebook friend request or email offer, if sent at the right
time of year,” Anscombe continues.
Valentine’s Day is one the largest days of the year for online retailers
and for online cybercriminals who try to take advantage of the increased
activity to cause as much damage as possible through their various
tricks of the trade. Viral posts through social media are the new spam
email, as are Twitter worms such as “Are these pictures of you?”
Invitations to download apps ‘designed’ for Valentine’s Day can be a
trap, particularly if you accept them from free marketplaces. Spam and
e-greeting cards also continue to be popular in the lead up to
Valentine’s Day simply because they are effective at tricking people
into clicking on and opening malicious links.
Cybercriminals may also try to target unsuspecting users thanks to
impulse message sending via unfamiliar sites and last minute gift
purchasing. Enticements such as “Order online today for fast delivery
using this special discount code” could solve your problem, as long as
the fast delivery they’re promising is for flowers and not for malware.
With so many teens and adults now browsing and shopping using small
screened smartphones and tablets there are risks to online activity
because you can’t always see the full web address. Criminals often add
to the end of legitimate URL addresses taking shoppers to corrupt sites.
A new danger awaits users of mobile devices: beware QR Codes displaying
Valentine’s Day advertisements. The danger lies not in the codes
themselves but in what can lie at the other end. When you use your
smartphone to scan a QR Code, you are taken directly to the site without
its URL being displayed or you being asked first if you want to go there.
Here are AVG’s five safety tips for sending and receiving genuine online
1. Pre-qualify those potentially dodgy email links, e-cards or QR Codes
by activating link scanning technologies, such as those embedded in
AntiVirus Free for Android, that automatically detect malicious
sites and halt the action before your phone or tablet becomes infected.
2. Whether using a home computer or mobile device, before entering
credit card information to order your flowers, ensure you either
recognize the URL or that it begins with “https” to confirm that the
site is secure.
3. When you’ve finished buying your sweetheart a sweet treat, consider
cleaning the cookies on your computer so you don’t leave a footprint for
4. While there are daily reports of ‘harmless’ social media pranks,
Valentine’s Day provides additional avenues for bullies. Always log out
and make sure you’re using a good strong password or passphrase so
someone else can’t access your account pages.
5. Don’t break someone’s heart or bank account by unintentionally
sharing a malicious link with friends – they can so easily go viral on
Facebook and Twitter.
About AVG Technologies (NYSE: AVG)
AVG’s mission is to simplify, optimize and secure the Internet
experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG’s powerful
yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of
their Internet experience. By choosing AVG’s software and services,
users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from
inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown
its user base to 143 million active users as of September 30, 2012 and
offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and small business
markets and includes Internet security, PC performance optimization,
online backup, mobile security, identity protection and family safety
Keep in touch with AVG
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