‘Tis the Season to be Wary (of Cyber Threats)

Black Friday through Cyber Monday is the biggest and busiest retail weekend of the year, bringing in billions of dollars in sales, with 35% of transactions occurring online. Shop securely this holiday season by following these 5 tips:

1. Strengthen your personal security.

Limit the amount of personally identifiable information you divulge when creating profiles on shopping websites, and use strong passwords. Refrain from repeating passwords across multiple sites. It is also prudent to review the websites’ privacy and security options for additional security features you may want to enable.

2. Check the URL for HTTPS.

Shop on websites with HTTPS in their URLs. HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is the secure version of HTTP and indicates that all data, such as credit card numbers, are encrypted and cannot be seen by a potential hacker.

3. Use multiple email addresses.

In general, it’s smart to have different email accounts for different types of communication. When shopping, avoid using your personal email to limit the amount of personally identifiable data tied to your online purchases. Also be wary of advertisement emails with suspicious hyperlinks; they may, in fact, be phishing attempts.

4. Limit public Wi-Fi use.

As often as possible, make purchases on a secure Internet connection, ideally, from the comfort of your own home. If mobile shopping is necessary, use cellular network data. Never make a purchase over public Wi-Fi.

5. Don’t use debit cards for online shopping.

Use a credit card or other secure payment method for your online purchases. Debit cards have less fraud protection than credit cards and represent a direct line to your bank account.