No, we don’t have guests, these shoes are mine

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… is my default answer when new friends come to visit my home and are astonished by my shoe parade. Yes, I’m a shoe addict. I haven’t dared to count my collection, but I must own more than 60 pairs. My shoe cabinets are packed and you will find all colors, brands and styles: high-heels, pumps, sneakers, boots, tip-toes, sandals, trainers, clogs – you name it, I have it. I own 8 pairs alone of classic Chucks of different heights and colors. You may be questioning if this many pairs are really necessary? Oh yes, they are. There is a very particular use for every pair of shoes.

Source: ZU

A passion for shoes can easily ruin your Saturday if you are hunting for a certain pair which you just cannot find in the right size in the shoe shops nearby. And no doubt, the habit can get somewhat expensive. Thank goodness the Internet has become a global shopping mall that is open 24/7 so I can not only save time and my best friend’s nerves, but also get occasional good bargains.

But sometimes shopping for shoes online isn’t much fun. Just recently a batch of poisoned links ruined my shoe shopping experience. I was hunting a pair of black ZU heels and was searching the net for the best price. I typed a search term in Google. The third search result sounded promising and so I clicked on the URL. But I didn’t see any shoes, instead I got a warning:

Hey, this was my internet security in action. Well done! But I still wanted a pair of shoes. So I tried the next link and the same thing happened. I clicked the next link – again a warning. The top search results on the first page were poisoned with some malicious code. Very annoying! No shoes for me that day.

Booby-trapped websites are on the rise and what’s even worse, cyber criminals are successfully fooling users with fake anti-virus software and making them pay for useless applications. Google announced a couple of days ago that they had performed a 13 month analysis of 240 million Web pages and fake anti-virus accounted for 15 percent of the malicious software detected. There wouldn’t be as much of it if this wasn’t a lucrative business for criminals.

So be on the lookout when you go shopping online and are searching for popular items. Here are my personal tips for avoiding bad online (shoe) shopping:

  1. Switch search engines once in a while. Google is the most popular and that’s why the criminals target its search results the most.
  2. Check if your internet security solution protects against malware spread through URLs. In F-Secure Internet Security 2010 this feature is called Browsing Protection. If you don’t know what the feature is called in your internet security product, check the vendors website or ask support.
  3. If you’re not using our software or your solution doesn’t offer a URL check, you can use our Browsing Protection for free at http://browsingprotection.f-secure.com/swp/. Just type in the URL you are worried about and the tool tells you if that site is safe or not.
  4. Think before you buy. No security vendor would use a malware warning for marketing and no ticket service on this planet will sell you cheap tickets for the UEFA Champions League Final 2010 in Madrid.

Do you have shopping tips? Do you know some safety checked shopping sites you would like to share? Just drop us a comment below.

Have a great weekend and happy vappu (May 1st) to all our Finnish readers!

Sandra

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