Cyber Monday Security Tips
Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the holiday season is officially in full swing! Whether you have a religious holiday coming up or just want in on some bargains, odds are, you’ll be looking at the Cyber Monday sales. This year is a bit different than previous years, though, and that’s because of the insane amounts of cyberattacks that have occurred over the last year. It’s been in the news nonstop it seems! So how can we be sure that our personal information online is safe this shopping season? We’ve got some advice for you to ensure that your Cyber Monday security game is right where it needs to be.
First thing’s first, make sure everything is up to date: operating system, software, browser, etc. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, you sometimes have to restart your computer (and who wants to do that?). However, these updates are being put in place many times for enhanced security. When you’re entering your personal information online, don’t you want the highest security possible? Take the extra ten minutes (max, most likely) to update your computer to have better peace of mind when shopping online.
Next, be acutely aware of what you’re clicking on. This seems silly to most, but this is the time when links and advertising can get us the most. It’s the holidays, so we’re looking for gifts for our various friends and family members. If you’re browsing online and an ad pops up for the perfect gift for your dad (because let’s face it, dads can be very difficult to shop for), your first instinct may be to click it. What if this ad is infected with malware? Now your computer has that malware. If you’re unsure and haven’t heard of a store before, look it up with the Better Business Bureau. This will let you know if the business is established and give customer reviews as well as a BBB analysis. A website called CyberMonday.com lists all the big online deals from top stores to ensure that you’re not getting scammed by a fraudulent website.
Another rule of thumb is to check that the website is secure. It is good practice to do this before clicking any link, but you should definitely be doing this before entering any information into a website. Some web browsers will show you the destination link in the bottom left corner of the browser window any time you hover over a link. If not, a simple trick is to right-click on the link, hover over “Share,” then click “Mail,” as shown below:
This will put the link into a mail message for you, like so:
Now, you can see the exact link that you would be taken to. Notice that this website says “http://” This means that the website is not secured. If the website was secured, it would say “https://” It is not recommended to enter ANY private information, ESPECIALLY information regarding your finances or social security, on these websites.
While on the topic of secure links, you should also be cautious when opening e-cards. At this time of year, many people send e-cards to friends and family members. Often, these people do so every year, so you know that this is trusted. If you receive an e-card from someone you do not typically receive them from, or if you are not completely sure they sent you one, give them a call and ask. E-cards are a simple way for hackers to exploit their victims this year by using the disguise of a warm season’s greeting from a loved one. It’s better to check that the card was sent than to wish you did!
If you can, use Paypal or another secure online payment system to make purchases online. These companies are in place to increase your online security when it comes to finances, so take advantage of what they were created to offer this Cyber Monday. According to its website, Paypal “automatically encrypts your confidential information in transit from your computer to ours using the Secure Sockets Layer protocol.” When a merchant needs payment from you and goes through Paypal, Paypal takes care of the finances to ensure that your personal data is kept secure and the merchant is paid.
Finally, as with many things, the safest way to avoid any vulnerability is to skip Cyber Monday shopping and make purchases in person. The deals may be great, but saving less is worth keeping your personal information and Cyber Monday security safe. The extra cost is worth it when you calculate how much time you would spend on call with banks and other financial institutions, linking your online accounts to your new card, etc.
If you’re planning on shopping online today, you’ll want to be sure that your Cyber Monday security is up to par. With these tips, your privacy will be strengthened, better protecting your personal information. If you’d like to know more on how Heart can help your company uphold its cybersecurity standards, give us a call at 877.494.3278 today.