Cyber Monday is one of the most anticipated shopping events of the year, offering great deals and discounts on a variety of products and services online. However, it is also a prime opportunity for cybercriminals to target unsuspecting shoppers and steal their personal and financial information. While shopping online this Cyber Monday, avoid falling victim to online scams and frauds with our Cyber Monday Cybersecurity Tips:
- Limit the storage of your credentials to two places, in your head (this might be tricky) or in a secure credential vault – Credential vault, also referred to as a password manager, is a software application that stores and encrypts your usernames and passwords for different websites and accounts. This way, you do not have to remember or type them every time you log in, and you can avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, which we HIGHLY recommend you avoid doing.
- Be cognizant of phishing scams, especially on large retail days like Cyber Monday – Phishing attempts skyrocket during the holidays. Be cautious of emails or messages that appear to be from reputable retailers, especially if they ask for personal or financial information. Avoid clicking on suspicious links and only use official websites or trusted apps.
- Only shop from secure, known devices – When shopping online, it is important to only input your banking information from devices that you own or can ensure are safe to use. This includes keeping them updated and secured with a PIN.
- Only shop from secure websites – Stick to reputable, well-known websites with secure connections. You can tell if a website is secure by looking for “https://” at the beginning of the URL and a padlock symbol in the address bar, which indicates that the website is encrypted and protects your data from being intercepted or tampered with.
- Avoid clicking on browser sidebar adverts – These are often paths to malware infection or credential theft. Manually enter the desired destination site in the address bar instead if possible.
- Always question unsolicited / unexpected SMS messages with themes of package delivery problems or winning something, especially if they contain links – This is a tactic that is growing in popularity amongst cybercriminals especially as SMS messaging becomes a more popular communication method for businesses. These messages are another form of phishing that can lure you into clicking on malicious links or providing your information. They may claim that you have access to a special code, that you need to confirm or update your delivery details, or that there is a problem with your payment. Do not trust these messages, and do not click on any links or reply to them. You can also contact the legitimate retailer or courier service directly to verify the status of your order or delivery.
- Create strong unique passwords for online shopping accounts and keep them secure – A strong and unique password can make it harder for hackers to guess or crack your password and reduce the risk of your account being compromised. Your password should be complex, and random, and that uses a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols and must not be used for any other account.
- Stay vigilant on your Social Media platforms – Social Media is rampant with shopper scams on days like Cyber Monday. To avoid becoming a victim, skip purchasing anything via Social Media platforms where discounts and prizes are on offer. These offers may be fake or misleading, and may direct you to fraudulent websites or apps that can steal your information or infect your device with malware. You should also be wary of social media posts or messages that ask you to share, like, or comment on a product or service, or to provide your personal or financial information, as these may be phishing attempts. Only shop from official and verified social media accounts of reputable retailers, and do not trust any links or offers that are not from them.
- Avoiding public Wi-Fi, especially for online shopping – Public Wi-Fi networks, such as those in airports, cafes, or parks, are often unsecured and unprotected, which means that anyone can access them and potentially see or intercept your online activity and information. Hackers can also set up fake Wi-Fi networks that look like legitimate ones, but are actually designed to trick you into connecting to them and exposing your data. To avoid these risks, you should avoid using public Wi-Fi for online shopping, or for any activity that involves sensitive information, such as banking, email, or social media.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of Cyber Monday without compromising your cybersecurity. Remember to always be vigilant and cautious when shopping online to protect your devices and information from cyber threats.