After getting stuffed with an amazing Thanksgiving meal, most of us go into shopping mode with Black Friday and Cyber Monday online specials.
Cybercrime always increases between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with hackers taking advantage of all the extra traffic to try and steal your valuable information.
We've put together a few tips to help you protect yourself as you shop from the comfort of your couch. Here are a few Black Friday / Cyber Monday Safety Tips:
DON’T USE DEBIT CARDS
Using a debit card allows cyber criminals direct access to your bank accounts. Using payment options with added layers of protection is key to reduce your risk while you shop. Try using a credit card or a third party like PayPal or Venmo.
DON’T CLICK ON LINKS OR OPEN ATTACHMENTS IN EMAILS
Many cyber criminals are using the flood of Black Friday emails from retailers to send their own copycat versions with malicious links. Beware of links and attachments in the emails you receive. Hovering over links can help show you where exactly each link is sending you to.
DON’T SHOP ON PUBLIC WIFI
Make sure you are only shopping on a secure connection. Shopping online requires you divulge sensitive information, like credit card numbers, addresses, and more. You don’t want this information visible to outside eyes. When you are shopping online, make sure you are on a private network, or are using your cellular data plan to stay secure.
USE A VARIETY OF PASSWORDS
Many online retailers require you to create an account to purchase items, which includes creating a password. It may be easier to use the same password everywhere, but should that retailer be breached in the future, many of your other accounts are now susceptible. Use a variety of passwords to mitigate your overall risk.
ENSURE YOUR SOFTWARE IS UP TO DATE
Before shopping til you drop, make sure your device’s software is up to date. From your operating system to your web browser to your password manager and beyond, take some time to ensure you have the latest versions for security’s sake. Outdated systems are often littered with vulnerabilities, so you’ll want to fully update to block cyber criminals from gaining access.
ENABLE 2-STEP VERIFICATION
Many online retailers give individuals the option to ensure all logins (and even final order submissions) are secured through confirmation via a secondary device. Sending an authorization code to your phone or email may be a momentary inconvenience but compared to dealing with stolen credentials is a very worthwhile use of time.