As the digital world keeps changing, cybercriminals find more chances to exploit weaknesses in online systems. Cyber Monday, the big annual online shopping day after Black Friday, is a prime target for these hackers.
With more than 77 million shoppers hitting online stores for the best deals, it's essential to make sure your cybersecurity is up to par.1 This blog post looks into the best practices for cybersecurity to help you shop securely and confidently on Cyber Monday.
Keep Software and Devices Updated
Ever get those pesky software update pop-ups that we all tend to ignore? Well, they're actually there to keep you secure. One of the basic rules for good cybersecurity is to regularly update your software and devices. This covers your operating system, web browsers, antivirus software, and any other apps you use for online shopping. Updates are released by manufacturers to fix security holes, and not installing them could leave your system vulnerable to threats.
Use Strong, Unique Passwords
Using strong and unique passwords for your online shopping accounts is essential. Avoid using easily guessable information like your name or birthdate, and opt for complex combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that are longer than 12 characters. 88% of passwords that were successfully hacked consisted of 12 characters or less.2 Consider using a password manager to generate and store strong passwords for each of your accounts.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA adds an extra layer of security to your accounts. By requiring both a password and a second form of verification (such as a one-time code sent to your mobile device), 2FA makes it significantly more challenging for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your accounts.
Be Cautious of Phishing Attempts
Cybercriminals often use phishing emails and fake websites to trick users into revealing sensitive information, especially around the holidays. Be cautious of unsolicited emails, and always verify the legitimacy of a website before entering personal or financial information. Look for HTTPS in the URL, and check for website seals or trust badges.
Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks
Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for being less secure. When shopping online, use a secure, private network rather than public Wi-Fi. If you must use public Wi-Fi, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection and protect your data.
Shop from Reputable Websites
This Cyber Monday, stick to well-known and reputable online retailers. Scammers often create fake websites that mimic popular stores to steal your information. Check reviews and ratings, and make sure the website has a physical address and contact information listed.
Monitor Your Financial Statements
Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized or suspicious transactions. If you notice anything unusual, report it to your financial institution immediately.
Don’t Share Your Personal Information
Avoid sharing unnecessary personal details when making online purchases. Retailers typically only need your shipping address and payment information. Be cautious about sites that ask for excessive personal information.
Regularly Back Up Your Data
Back up your important data regularly. In the case of a cyberattack or ransomware attack, having secure backups can prevent data loss and give you peace of mind.
Cyber Monday offers fantastic deals and convenience, but it also attracts cybercriminals looking to exploit unsuspecting shoppers. By following these cybersecurity best practices, you can protect yourself and your personal information while enjoying the benefits of holiday shopping online.