‘Tis the season for online shopping and cybersecurity tips!
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have ended, the holiday shopping season has just begun, and during this time of year, cybercriminals are out to cause havoc. When it comes to online shopping, practicing good cyber-hygiene can help protect you against any attempt at online theft by hackers.
In a 2017 Symantec report, researchers found that “more than 978 million adults in 20 countries globally experienced cybercrime.”
According to one of their key findings, cybercrime victims are usually “those who emphasize the importance of online security, [and] generally contradict themselves through their actions” such as using the same password across multiple accounts.
To help you stay safe while hunting for that perfect gift, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Always look at the URL bar above the page
It’s a good idea to check the URL at the top of your browser page to make sure you’re visiting a website that uses HTTPS. With HTTPS, a website utilizes TLS encryption so that data you enter is always encrypted. Keeping your eye on the URL bar also helps you make certain you’re visiting a legitimate website. Hackers can use a fake website redirect to get you to input your sensitive information on a page that looks legitimate but in actuality is not.
2. Never shop using public Wi-Fi
Hackers can use weak connections and poor security to their advantage to gain access to your unencrypted data over public Wi-Fi. When away from home, use a VPN to help safeguard your data.
3. Be mindful of URL shorteners
Seeing an ad for a sale seems enticing to click on, but it’s best to avoid clicking on it. Ads can contain malicious URL shorteners created by hackers to direct you to an illegitimate website. URL shorteners hide the actual website name which makes it difficult to discern if a link is safe to click on. Try searching for the ad item you see instead.
4. Always monitor your credit card statements
With so much holiday shopping to do, it’s easy to lose track of your purchases. Keeping a record of card purchases can help you spot a suspicious charge and stop a hacker before more damage can be done to your account. If you believe your card information may have been compromised, you can contact your bank to shut down the card and retrieve a new one.
5. Update your browser regularly
Keeping your browser updated while you do your online shopping can help protect you from information leaks to hackers. Regularly updated browsers equal better security, as vulnerabilities in older versions provide easier means of access for hackers.
6. Don’t click on email links
It’s best practice to stay skeptical of email links, as hackers can use phishing to their advantage. Analyze the content of the email. Are they asking you for sensitive information or declaring you are the winner of a grand prize? If so, it is most likely a scam. Check who the sender of the email is as well. A hacker can impersonate a business such as Paypal by setting their sender information as the business name, but always check the email address. If it ends in @paypal.com, it’s safe to say the email is from a real employee working for the business.
7. Don’t give out more information than what is usually required
A website usually asks for a few pieces of information: your name and contact information along with your billing and shipping information. If a site asks for information pertaining to your social security or password to private accounts, it is most likely a malicious page designed to steal your sensitive data.
Happy shopping! Don’t be a victim to malware this holiday season. Check out our website, www.reevert.com, for more information on how to safeguard your data with our various storage appliances for your business.
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