The Holiday Scams are Upon Us
The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and with that come the annual holiday-themed scams.
As the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals start rolling in, so do these intricate phishing campaigns. And if you are not prepared, your personal information could be compromised or your business operations could be affected.
Opposite to the contrary belief, hackers don't take time off. So, we, at Cyber Unit, have put together a few tips to ensure you stay safe this holiday season.
We can't stress this enough - If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
It's always a good idea to be wary of "last-minute offers" and "too good to be true" deals. Hackers usually exploit the sense of urgency and lure individuals into giving up sensitive information. Always research the brand, the product and the website that you're on.
Use secure websites
Before entering any personal information, check to make sure that the URL for a site begins with "https://" or look for a padlock icon in the address bar. This is an indicator of security, as opposed to "http://", which does not offer encryption and could be vulnerable to hacking. The secure version of HTTP, HTTPS is the most common protocol for encrypting web traffic. It uses SSL or TLS encryption to keep your sensitive information safe from prying eyes. In fact, if you're shopping on a site with a little green lock in the URL bar (like Amazon or PayPal), then that site is using HTTPS to make sure no one can see what you're buying or where your account information is going.
Use a credit card instead of debit cards
When it comes to fraud protection, credit cards are the way to go. Credit cards offer fraud liability protection, and so shopping online with credit cards come with fewer risks.
Credit card companies will also reimburse customers for fraudulent purchases if they report them within 60 days of making them. Be sure to check your statement regularly for suspicious activity.
Use secure Wi-Fi networks
When shopping online, do not use an unsecured or public Wi-Fi networks. If you don’t have access to a secure wireless network, consider installing virtual private network (VPN) software on your computer or mobile device to encrypt your web traffic. VPNs can also obscure your location from prying eyes and help protect against DNS poisoning attacks that redirect traffic to malicious sites.
Create strong passwords
Use a password manager like LastPass to create strong passwords. This is critical advice regardless of Black Friday or Cyber Monday themed phishing campaigns: Cyber criminals are active throughout the year, so it's especially important to stay vigilant and take steps now so that you don't become a victim later!