news_Be cautious when shopping online for the perfect Christmas gift

December 22, 2011

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., and ZURICH, Switzerland, December 22, 2011 - VASCO Data Security International, Inc. (Nasdaq: VDSI) (, a leading software security company specializing in authentication products cautions both consumers and employers to be extra vigilant for cyber criminality in the build-up to the festive season.

Research confirms that online shopping is still increasing in popularity with more people looking for online deals to get the most out of their Christmas budget. The Internet has become a favorite shopping place thanks to competitive pricing, the convenience it offers and its tempting free shipping offers.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) conducted a study revealing that 46, 7 % of UK consumers are planning to purchase their gifts online, a trend which is confirmed by Deloitte’s annual holiday survey (48%). IMRG, the UK Retail Trade Association calculated that UK residents will spent a staggering $12 billion (7.75 billion pounds) on online Christmas shopping. IMR World stated that an estimated 240 million European consumers will shop online in the run-up to Christmas 2011, spending at total of $67.6 billion (€52 billion) whereby the UK market accounts of 30% of the total online purchases.
To help consumers avoid the potential pitfalls of online shopping, VASCO issues a series of tips for consumers to protect themselves:

  • Buy from a trusted website or storefront. Using an unfamiliar website and divulging your credit card information, increases the risk of credit card or identity fraud. Closely inspect the online channel before making a purchase. This includes reading the general terms and conditions, contact information and checking shipping and any additional costs
  • Do not click on emails or web links from unfamiliar senders with unbeatable offers that seem too good to be true
  • Make sure you make use of updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer and make regular back-ups of your data
  • Make sure that when you disclose your credit card data that the website makes use of a trusted environment. Make use of secure and trusted payment systems such as DIGIPASS authentication to prevent fraudsters from intercepting personal and financial credentials
  • By preference, avoid making purchases from public PCs as these are often not sufficiently protected. The same goes for using public WiFis as cyber criminals can easily tap in to data traffic
  • Use strong passwords to protect your personal and account information. Strong passwords are randomly generated by authentication devices such as DIGIPASS one-time password authenticators. Passwords calculated by DIGIPASS cannot be reused and are only valid for a limited time

A relative new trend that is rapidly gaining terrain is “mobile shopping”. The number of shopping queries originating from mobile devices has increased with 203% in 2011 according to a study conducted by IBM Coremetrics. These findings are supported by a study carried out by The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). The association concluded that a quarter of European mobile Christmas shoppers intend to use their mobile phones (France 19%, Germany 32% and the UK 24%) to search for gift ideas. More than 1 in 10 mobile Christmas shoppers plan to actually use a mobile phone for gift payments or purchases (UK 16%, Germany 14% and France 5%), which demonstrates the rising importance of mobile devices when it comes to shopping habits.

VASCO Data Security provides a range of software solutions that can be used to execute secure online transactions from your mobile device. VASCO’s DIGIPASS for Mobile allows users to generate strong dynamic passwords directly on their mobile device offering an effective defense against complex cyber attacks. VASCO’s DIGIPASS for Web is another solution that will replace weak static passwords with a higher level of security and ideally suited for online banking and e-commerce purposes.

Another rising trend that emerged in 2010 and still continues is shopping from work. ISACA (Information Systems Auditing and Control Association) indicated that last year the majority of online Christmas shoppers would do shopping from work, a tendency that is confirmed in 2011. Increased use of laptops and mobile devices for shopping purposes leaves employers at greater risk from malware and phishing attacks.

Although consumers are becoming more aware of the risk associated with using their work devices for personal activities such as shopping, they rely on their IT department for security and are not always aware of company policies. This leads to the conclusion that a transparent communication about IT company policies is an indispensable procedure. As mobile devices are more easily lost and stolen, encrypting corporate information might be an option to consider. VASCO’s authentication solutions include amongst other a comprehensive UTM solution, aXsGUARD Gatekeeper, to protect companies from viruses and other virtual vermin. aXsGUARD Gatekeepers allows organizations to content scan e-mails and set up strict internet and mail policies reducing the risk of exposure to malware. Companies looking to protect their network information can make use of VASCO’s outsourced authentication offering DIGIPASS as a Service.

"When shopping online you always expose yourself to a certain risk when disclosing your personal and/or credit card information. Your credentials could be intercepted by fraudsters who will misuse the information for their personal gain. As a world leader in authentication and securing online transactions, VASCO considers it its responsibility to sensibilize consumers and make them aware about the risks associated with online payments. By raising security awareness and educating the consumer, we help them to mitigate risks ensuring a secure and safe online Christmas shopping experience”, said Jan Valcke, President and COO of VASCO Data Security.

VASCO is a leading supplier of strong authentication and e-signature solutions and services specializing in Internet security applications and transactions. VASCO has positioned itself as a global software company for Internet security serving a customer base of approximately 10,000 companies in more than 100 countries, including approximately 1,700 international financial institutions. VASCO’s prime markets are the financial sector, enterprise security, e-commerce and e-government.

Forward Looking Statements:
Statements made in this news release that relate to future plans, events or performances are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements (1) are identified by use of terms and phrases such as “expect”, “believe”, “will”, “anticipate”, “emerging”, “intend”, “plan”, “could”, “may”, “estimate”, “should”, “objective” and “goal”, “possible”, “potential”, and similar words and expressions, but such words and phrases are not the exclusive means of identifying them, and (2) are subject to risks and uncertainties and represent our present expectations or beliefs concerning future events. VASCO cautions that the forward-looking statements are qualified by important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors have been described in greater detail in the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and include, but are not limited to, (a) risks of general market conditions, including currency fluctuations and the uncertainties in world economic and financial markets, (b) risks inherent to the computer and network security industry, including rapidly changing technology, evolving industry standards, increasing numbers of patent infringement claims, changes in customer requirements, price competitive bidding, and changing government regulations, and (c) risks specific to VASCO, including, demand for our products and services, competition from more established firms and others, pressures on price levels and our historical dependence on relatively few products, certain suppliers and certain key customers. Reference is made to VASCO's public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for further information regarding VASCO and its operations.

This document may contain trademarks of VASCO Data Security International, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including VASCO, the VASCO “V” design, DIGIPASS, VACMAN, aXsGUARD and IDENTIKEY.
For more information contact: Jochem Binst, +32 2 609 97 00, [email protected]
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