AVG ''security evangelist'' Lloyd Borrett is warning that the
growing use of mobile devices for such things as shopping is
posing some risks.
''Attention bargain hungers: you're being hunted. Don't
forget smartphones are portable computers and like any
computer, they can be hacked and attacked for any account,
financial and other personal information that might be on
He gave five rules to the Otago Daily Times for mobile
(1) Public Wi-Fi is a great means of browsing retailers on
the go but be cautious when providing personal information
like credit card numbers or passwords. You could be opening a
back door to hackers and spammers. Do not give away your
credit card details over open unsecured Wi-Fi.
(2) Many smaller mobile devices do not show the full web
address, or hide it completely. Hackers are aware of this and
may attach information at the end of URLs to lead you to
corrupt sites. If the site name is unrecognisable, check
before you click.
(3) Whether it is an app for price comparison or an app from
your favourite retailer, check with the app's parent company
to make sure it is legitimate.
(4) Avoid clicking on suspicious links that claim to offer
free products or amazing deals.
(5) Password-protect your private information and data.
Mobile devices are easy to lose and a lost phone can put you
at risk of a phishing scam or identity theft if your accounts
Counterfeit software is becoming an increasingly common
problem in New Zealand with consumers being duped into buying
fake versions of popular software and games.
It is important that you know what you need to look out for
when purchasing software in store or online - particularly as
the Christmas sales are in full swing.
A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft provides clear
evidence that consumers are becoming more conscious of the
risks of using counterfeit software, with one in three people
believing it is not as safe as using genuine software.
Counterfeit software is appearing in the market with similar
prices and packing to the real products, making it difficult
for people to spot the difference.
Microsoft New Zealand national technology officer Mark Rees
says piracy is now a huge concern when purchasing software.
''Consumers throughout New Zealand are increasingly coming to
us with complaints about counterfeit software and asking what
they can do to protect themselves. There are more people
being caught out, and as more sophisticated counterfeiting
technology becomes available, the harder it becomes to spot a
Mr Rees provided a checklist to ensure the software bought is
(1) Buy from a retailer or seller you know and trust.
(2) The general rule of thumb is that it is seems too good to
be true, it usually is, especially if the software you want
to purchase is much cheaper than from other retailers.
(3) Be wary if the seller is reluctant or will not provide a
phone number, address and other pertinent contact details.
(4) When buying online, always look for feedback from other
customers. If there is negative feedback, steer clear.
(5) Make sure there is a way to return the product and make
sure that you feel confident that your seller will be able to
help with after-sales service if there is a problem with the
(6) Be wary of stock standard marketing photos that might not
be of the actual software you are buying.
(7) If you can, check the product thoroughly before you buy
(8) Check you are buying the correct licence for using the
(9) A certificate of authenticity is a label that helps
identify genuine software.
This is a visual identifier that helps determine whether or
not the software you are buying is genuine.