Whether businesses like it or not, online shopping is increasingly prevalent at work, surveys show, and comprise a growing chunk of American retailers' sales. So experts say businesses need to protect their computers from viruses, spam and other problems associated with e-commerce.
Surveys by the National Retail Federation, CareerBuilder and Accountemps suggest anywhere from one-fifth to one-half of U.S. office workers will be browsing retail Web sites this holiday season.
How can businesses protect their computers from viruses and "phishing" that can destroy corporate data and result in hours of productive time lost as problems are fixed? The Better Business Bureau, National Cyber Security Alliance and information-technology trade group ISACA have some tips:
- Computer users need to have the most recent antivirus, anti-spyware and spam filters installed. Update the programs before beginning to shop.
- Make sure employees know how to verify the authenticity and safety of a retailer's Web site. The browser's status bar should show a closed padlock, and the beginning of the site's address should switch from "http" to "shttp" or "https" when the site asks a shopper to provide credit-card information upon checkout.
- Make sure employees use desktop computers, not work-issued smart phones, to shop. The computers are likelier to be more secure.
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