Cyber Shopping Security: Don’t Let Holiday Grinches Steal Your Information

     

According to a holiday shopping projection from CMO, the 2017 holiday season will be the first to break $100 billion in online sales.

With credit card numbers and personal information being shared through web browsers and mobile and work devices, it is important for people to be vigilant when making their holiday purchases to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.

Use safe computing practices on all of your internet-connected devices:

  • Keep your operating system and any installed applications or add-ons up-to-date. Set these to auto-update.
  • Use antivirus and internet security software. These packages contain firewalls, phishing protection, secure browsing and parental controls. Make sure to keep it updated through auto-update.
  • Never click on unsolicited links or coupons in emails or other messaging systems, including, text messaging, Twitter, Facbeook, LinkedIn, etc. The holidays are a prime time for receiving questionable emails.
  • Never provide personal or financial information during an unsolicited phone call.
  • Always use secure connections for purchases.
    • Look for a closed lock icon on the top of the window, near the website address. Scam websites may try to fool you by showing a lock within page content, so be careful.
    • Check the website address. If it starts with “https” it is an encrypted site; if it says “http” it is a standard non-secure website. 
    • Most modern web browsers show you an error message if the site is not secured and potentially dangerous.
  • Use a limited user account for most of your activity on your computer.
    • Many computers log you in with an administrator account by default.
    • A limited user account also is ideal for children to prevent them from inadvertently installing malicious software.
  • Use complex and unique passwords for each website you use.
    • To handle all of those passwords, use a password manager. This is software which will securely encrypt all your passwords in one place.
    • Ideally, you should not write down passwords, but if you do, don’t keep them near your computer or carry them with you.
    • If a website offers two-factor authentication for additional security, take advantage of it.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. Instead, use your mobile phone’s data tethering or personal hotspot feature, or purchase a portable hotspot from your mobile carrier.
    • If you must use public Wi-Fi, use a VPN service to help secure your Internet session.
  • If a mobile device is lost or stolen, most phones have the ability to track their location remotely through built-in software or third party-apps. These often allow you to remotely delete everything on the phone if it’s lost or stolen. Checking your devices for this capability can ensure your information stays safe if the worst should happen.

Traveling for the holidays? The Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods are the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year, and we often rely on technology to stay connected and entertained while we’re away. Check out our holiday travel blog for security measures you’ll want to consider taking before your trip to ensure your identity isn’t compromised through your smartphone, tablet, laptop and charging devices. 

 

 

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