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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Bots target online shoppers during Christmas season

"It's real busy around the Permian Basin so nobody wants to go out shopping and wait in line, but it’s important if you’re online shopping to use reputable sites."

MIDLAND, Texas — First comes Black Friday, then comes Cyber Monday. But with Cyber Monday comes bots.

The bots, who are organized by gangs of cyber-criminals, swoop up products and then resell them on third party sites that are designed to steal your private information. 

These 'Grinch' bots are making Christmas a little less merry. 

“A bot network is typically run by a network of cyber-criminals, multiple computers, that can log in 20 times faster than you can,”John Pitts, MidessaTech CEO, said. 

Consumers might think they are avoiding the rush in retail stores by shopping online but Radware, a cyber security company, says 97% of online traffic to retailer login pages consists of bots. 

“They’ve gotten smarter with artificial intelligence that mimics human behavior," Pitts said. "They can bypass controls so it’s made it a lot harder for website operators to secure the site.”

Pitts says it can be hard to protect yourself on the internet.

“There’s not much you can do to protect yourself but you can be cautious.”

As the countdown to Christmas begins here are three things Pitts wants online shoppers to remember this holiday season:

  1. Avoid temptation to buy things on a third-party site. They could be scam or you could be paying cyber criminals for the product.
  2. On retailer websites look for an "https" instead of "http". This indicates whether or not the website traffic is encrypted. If you do not see an" s" next to "http" it is not a secure site.
  3. Checkout with PayPal or another payment service. That way if there is a breach, your credit card information is protected.

“It’s real busy around the Permian Basin, nobody wants to go out shopping and wait in line," Pitts said. "It's important to, if you’re online shopping, to slow down and deal with reputable sites.”

Better to be safe than sorry. For more information on Cyberbots click here. 

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