The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and McAfee are warning online shoppers to take care when buying things over the internet ahead of the start of the busy Christmas shopping season.
In a statement issued November 14, NCSA executive director Michael Kaiser warned that cyber criminals would likely be out in force and hunting for easy targets as people turn to the web to do their holiday shopping.
"Shoppers should be alert to scams and other attempts to lure them to provide personal and financial information that could lead to data loss or the infection of an Internet connected device," said Mr Kaiser.
"We encourage everyone to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and make sure they have taken security precautions, understand the consequences of actions and behaviour and enjoy the benefits of holiday shopping online."
While the warning was directed towards online shoppers in particular, it also serves as a worthwhile reminder to all online retailers that they must ensure the security of their customer's payment card information.
Any business which accepts credit or debit card information, be they operating in the online sphere or via a standard brick and mortar store, needs to ensure they are in full compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
The PCI DSS is a set of best practice guidelines set down by several of the world's leading payment card security providers, designed to ensure retailers take the necessary steps to protect the personal and financial information of their customers.
A high profile security breach caused by a lack of vulnerability management can have major repercussions on a retailer's reputation and cost them substantially in the long run.
For that reason, it is worthwhile taking the steps now to ensure you have the adequate security protocols in place to mitigate the risk of data loss or information theft before the Christmas shopping season gets underway.