by Sandra Lee, Managing Director for Greater China, Southeast Asia & Korea from Sophos
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is a time of joy, celebration, and renewal for many cultures around the world. As the digital age continues to transform the way we shop, online shopping during the season has become increasingly popular. Malaysia's e-commerce sector, having thrived with a decade of robust growth, has captured a substantial market share, with 66.6% of Malaysians now purchasing products and services through online channels every week.
To ensure a prosperous and hassle-free experience, here are some valuable tips from Sophos for navigating the virtual marketplaces during this auspicious time.
Use an ad blocker - Advertisements are not only tracking your every movement and collecting enough information on your habits, but they are also a major source of malicious links and deceptive content on the internet. Not only is your browsing safer, but also faster and uses less bandwidth. Two of our favourites are uBlock Origin and Ghostery.
Avoid using one account on multiple services – When logging into an e-commerce site it is often tempting to use the “Sign in with Facebook” or “Sign in with Google” button. While it takes a few more minutes to create a new login, it will provide more privacy as you are not sharing all of the sites you shop at with these tech giants.
Use guest login when available – In addition to letting you use an account from other websites, many have the option to use a guest login rather than creating a new account. This is a great option if you don’t expect to need technical support or to do business on a recurring basis. Fewer passwords, fewer personal details, fewer problems if they get hacked.
Don’t save card details – Many e-commerce sites will default to storing your credit card information in your profile for your “convenience” (or their hope you’ll shop there again). They can’t lose what they don’t have, so tell them not to store your credit card unless it is absolutely necessary.
Use credit, not debit – All of us need to be wary of overspending during the season, but it is best to leave the debit card at home. Credit cards offer significantly more protection against online fraud, and you are in the power position in a dispute. You can simply not pay your bill while disputing the charge, rather than having criminals directly drain your bank account of your hard-earned cash.
Beware of direct messages via social media/chat apps – With modern generative AI technology it is almost trivial to create an entirely fake online store and lure people to share their personal information and payment data with you. It’s safest to shop at established sites or those personally recommended to you by friends and family. Many unsolicited messages lead to data collection or theft.
Don’t click deals in emails that look too good to be true or are from businesses you don’t have accounts from – these could be phishing emails hoping to bait you into clicking links to bogus, malicious websites.
Online shopping during Chinese New Year can be a safe and convenient experience when approached with careful planning and awareness. By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth virtual shopping journey, allowing you to celebrate the festive season with joy and confidence.