Tips for safe holiday shopping on mobile devices

Byby Sergio Quintana via KGO logo
Saturday, November 28, 2015
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With more and more online shoppers buying products on their smartphones, security experts warn hackers could be targeting them.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Adobe systems estimates more than a third of online shoppers use their mobile devices, but that convenience could leave them vulnerable.

Hackers are getting quite sophisticated as shoppers move to their mobile devices. Security experts say there are a few strategies that consumers can adopt to keep from becoming victims.

The shopping rush is on and a few people told ABC7 News Friday they will be doing most or all of their holiday shopping online. However, online shopping comes with a few risks.

Cyber security experts say hackers are pulling out all the stops to try and trick consumers and steal their information. One security firm says they discovered a fake app embedded in an e-mail link advertising exclusive sales to Android users on

"Effectively, you're installing a Trojan horse on your phone," Michael Sutton from Zscaler cyber security firm said.

He says consumers should shop only on mobile apps securely downloaded from the Google Play store or the Apple App Store.

One savvy shopper we spoke with has another piece of advice -- she sticks to familiar websites.

"You know, I want to go to sites that I know are true and that I've probably purchased things from before," Fresno resident Beth Buettner said.

Unfortunately, most online shoppers don't have a secure buying strategy, yet.

"I probably should be more concerned and I know it's an issue, but I really haven't done anything to protect myself," Fresno resident Robin Phanco said.

This year the National Cybersecurity Alliance put together a tip sheet encouraging people to be cyber-smart shoppers. One of the warnings is to be wary of free public Wi-Fi hot spots. Making purchases on these open Wi-Fi ports can leave you vulnerable to hackers and free Wi-Fi offered in stores can sometimes be used by those stores to track your browsing.

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