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Navigating Black Friday Shopping Online

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Tackling your holiday shopping online? Read on for tips to help you stay safe and protect your identity, so you can relax and enjoy this holiday season.

While we spend a lot of our time focusing on the security of both public and private sector organizations, we like to remind ourselves that your organizations are filled with PEOPLE. People just like you, who may be balancing a work-life and home-life and when the holidays roll around sometimes the stress of obtaining gifts and creating meals and moments can rattle even the best of us. There is so much to do, which means shopping online can alleviate some of the hustle and bustle as we shop from the comfort of our home with the click of a button. Additionally, a lot of stores now offer similar Black Friday deals online, so we don’t have to miss out. However, just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean that cyber-attackers are taking a break. So we’ve put together a list of a few tips to help you stay safe this holiday season:

  1. Secure Your Network

Shopping on public Wi Fi in between stops may seem like a smart use of your time but can leave you open to attackers. Take advantage of the break while you’re out and about and do your shopping at home. Make sure your Wi Fi is password protected and consider adding additional security or contacting a residential IT expert, who can assist you in doing so.

  1. Only Shop Sites You Know

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year and retailers come in all shapes and sizes on the Internet. While, competing for your business, these retailers will invest in Facebook Ads, Email Campaigns, and Advertisements on your regular websites. But think twice before you click. Going into your shopping with a list of sites your trust and items you need to purchase is smart for your security and your budget.

  1. Beware the Phishers

Email Campaigns are on the rise and cyber-attackers know that it is an easy and reliable way to deliver malware or ransomware. Some of these emails may look like a warning from your bank on a fraudulent transaction. You click the link and it takes you to a site that looks just like your bank, asking for your information to verify your identity. It makes sense. You’ve been shopping online. Maybe your data was compromised. Of course, they’d want to verify your identity if your data has been compromised right?

An easy way to avoid these campaigns is to NEVER click the link. If you get a warning from your bank or an ad from a store. Open a browser and type in the web address that you already know to go to the site and log in.

  1. Don’t Save Your Card Information

Almost every shopping site nowadays will give you the option of saving your card information for next time. It is worth the couple of extra minutes it will take you to type in the card information, rather than having your information compromised. Remember, you are also relying on the stores with which you shop to withstand the constant bombardment of cyberattacks. It is a daily battle.

  1. Use a Card with Protection

Instead of using a card directly attached to your bank account, consider using a credit card with theft protection on it. Many companies will now offer cards where they track your habits, allow you to set purchase limits and will screen transactions for potential fraud and even refund you if you did not make the purchase. Look at these options as another way to protect yourself when shopping online.

While it may be tempting to get caught up in the deals flying into your inbox, we want to remind you, it may be malicious content in sheep’s clothing. As a provider of security services to businesses and government, we see first-hand the kind of tactics that cyber criminals use to trick their victims. You can still enjoy the convenience and savings that shopping online offers as long as you remember to look for anything that seems suspicious.

Here’s to a safe and happy shopping experience online this holiday season.

For more details on Phishing Emails and how to avoid these malicious campaigns click here.

About the author

Carin Young

Contact CyberDefenses to speak with us about defending your organization against cyber threats.