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Guarding against Website/browser hoaxes over the holidays

As the holiday season draws closer, we must continue looking for the typical signs of being hacked. Here are more holiday reminders and how to protect your website browser.


Malicious online marketers entice users to visit malicious websites. Once at the bogus site, hackers can disable your “back button.” You notice your screen fills with pop-up windows. You can either restart your computer or leave the site. 


Such a website mimics a popular website but with an incorrect address. Hackers hope users will bite the bait and “check it out.” You can avoid the problem by bookmarking your frequently visited sites (using the “Bookmarks” or “Favorites” function in your browser) rather than typing them into your address bar.


Have you ever ended up on a new page? Pagejacking is when a search engine misdirects users to a false copy of a popular website. As soon as users reach the page, they end up on a new page of advertisements, offers, pornography, or hate speech.


In a pharming scam, a hacker redirects users from legitimate sites to fake ones that track information entered, including credit card numbers, banking information, and usernames and passwords. The data will be used at a later time. 

How to protect your website browser

  • Disable the JavaScript on your browser. Despite disabling some website features, this prevents malicious scripts from trapping users on websites. 
  • As mentioned, accessing sites through Favorites or Bookmarks can help to avoid pagejacking. If re-directed to or trapped on a bogus webpage, you can use your Bookmarks and jump to a trusted site. 
  • Make sure you are browsing secure websites by checking that the website address starts with the HTTPS:// prefix to prevent falling for pharming. AVG, Norton, McAffee, and other trustworthy internet security programs will alert users if a website’s certificate (record of authenticity) is invalid.

Follow cyber-safe best practices over the holidays, like monitoring and avoidance, and you will help yourself and your family protect against all scams. To learn more about consumer concerns, you can download our mobile app, FRAUDSTER, available on Apple and Android. You can learn more at www.FraudsterApp.com.

If you’ve already downloaded the FraudsterApp, click the training icon on the home screen to learn to protect yourself.

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