5 Tips to Keep Your Holiday Season Cyber-Safe

Extras admin_cyber todayDecember 13, 2021 204

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It’s that time of year again: holiday shopping has begun! E-commerce sales are rapidly increasing as a result of many consumers avoiding stores and purchasing more online, with no sign of consumers returning to their old habits anytime soon.

Fortunately, online shopping is becoming more intuitive and simple by the day, allowing you to find the perfect gift with ease. However, before you embark on your online shopping adventure, make sure you’re not putting yourself in danger. Businesses are obviously after your money during the holidays, but cybercriminals are on the lookout as well, now more than ever.

Hackers enjoy money, and there is plenty of it around during the holidays. According to AlixPartners, holiday shopping this year is expected to increase between 1% and 2.6 percent for the three-month period beginning in October compared to last year, which generated $1.1 trillion in sales. As consumers spend more time and money online, they are sharing sensitive data and payment information across a growing number of sites and platforms, putting them at a greater risk of being targeted by hackers than ever before.

While you may not have to worry about being pickpocketed in the cyber world, you must still exercise caution to avoid becoming a victim of criminals.

1. Watch out for phishing behaviour.

Keep an eye on your inbox. Phishing, which occurs when a hacker sends an email that appears to be from a familiar or reputable company in order to obtain personal information such as credit card information, is a common method used by hackers during the holidays. Examine all emails carefully, especially those that appear to be from retailers with promotions. Remember that a reputable seller will never ask for credit card information via email. Keep this in mind when opening attachments or clicking embedded links. Instead, visit the retailer’s website and look for the promotions there. The extra effort is well worth the added security.

2. Shop on reputable websites and access them safely. 

If an offer appears to be too good to be true, it most likely is! Don’t be taken in by the allure of huge discounts offered by shady websites or bogus businesses. Use the websites of retailers you know and trust, and navigate to them by typing a known, trusted URL into the address bar rather than clicking on a link.

3. Shop small. 

For hackers, the adage “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” applies to taking down a large retailer. During the holiday shopping season, well-known retailers such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart, as well as platforms such as Etsy and Shopify, are at risk of being targeted and breached. Shopping at smaller businesses may reduce your risk while also allowing you to support local businesses during this critical season.

If you choose to shop at larger retailers, make sure to reset your account passwords after you finish your holiday shopping. This will aid in avoiding exposure in the event of a data breach following the holiday shopping season.

4. Choose your passwords wisely. 

You’ve probably heard it before, but do you use different passwords for different sites and platforms? The more diverse your passwords, the more difficult it will be to hack into your accounts. This is the simplest thing you can do to protect your digital information during the holiday shopping season. In fact, there are numerous password managers that you can use or give as a gift to ensure your loved ones’ cybersecurity all year long.

5. Think twice before you click. 

Think twice before clicking on links or opening attachments from people you know, legitimate organizations, your favorite retailers, or even your bank. Messages are easily forgeried. Instead of clicking on links, use well-known, trusted URLs. And only open attachments that are known and expected. When in doubt, toss it!

Keep Your Holidays Safe and Secure

Consumers can try to keep their holiday season merry and bright with these simple tips — something we all need this year. It’s important to be aware of the risks when shopping online, but with the right precautions, you can stay safe while still filling the stockings. Let us believe in the magic of the holidays, but go into this shopping season armed with security tips and a healthy dose of skepticism in order to detect fraud before you fall for it.

Written by: admin_cyber

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“This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through the Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Program.”