Most consumers (estimated 55%) plan to shop online this holiday year. Mobile users alone are expected to spend 2.5 billion on Cyber Monday. While most of us will be thinking about seasonal parties and family get-togethers, holiday hackers will be thinking about completely different kinds of opportunities. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from holiday hacking.

Online Shopping Tips For Cyber Monday

As you make your online purchases, remain vigilant by following these safety recommendations.

Watch for the HTTPS or a Closed Padlock in the Address Bar

Before starting your online shopping, check the URL in your browser address bar. It should display HTTPS, or a closed padlock, NOT HTTP. The HTTPS indicates your session is secure. This means the site is using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to protect your personal data.

The new Google protocol was rolled out earlier this year. When SSL is applied, it keeps your personal data confidential as it moves from one place to the other.

Make Sure Your Browser is Up To Date

Like everything else on your computer, browsers need to be updated regularly. Make sure you are using the most current version before doing any online shopping. The newer version will include patches for any security issues previously found.

Actually Read the Privacy Policy of the Website

Make sure you completely understand the company’s privacy policy. What kind of information is being collected from your online shopping transaction? How will it be stored or used? Disclosing your personal information online could put you at risk of having your identity stolen.

Don’t Be Tempted by Sketchy Deals

Keep your guard up for emails and text messages advertising online shopping deals that seem too good to be true. You may have already received emails advertising unbelievably great deals. These could be phishing attempts with links to bogus data-stealing websites. Note: Phishing schemes often contain glaring typos, spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Do not respond to any email requesting to “verify” your confidential information.

Create Strong Passwords

  • Always use that combine numbers and letters.
  • Update your passwords regularly.
  • Do not use the same password for more than one account.

Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi.

Don’t we love getting together with friends for coffee during the holiday season? When you do, be careful about the other kinds of “connections” you’ll be making. Public Wi-Fi networks are not as safe as they once were. They are usually unencrypted and unsecured.

Treat any information you transmit on a public connection as exactly that, “public.” Your browsing history, including login and financial information are easy targets on a public connection.

Website Security is Everybody’s Responsibility

Website Security, for home and business, is something we all have to think about. Increasingly, more and more transactions are accomplished online. We check in with our banks, our medical providers, we make appointments for various services, all through the click of a mouse.

We often don’t often think about the security involved with online shopping, but we should. Ultimately we are all responsible for protecting our private information.

Online Security For Your Business

In the case of a business, hiring a security professional may be a wise decision. The best defense is a strong offense when it comes to protecting your website, your reputation, and your livelihood. Be proactive. Invest in prevention and protection. It costs far less to pay someone to secure and manage a website for an entire year than it does to fix the problem when your website gets hacked.

It’s not enough anymore to build a site and forget it. You have to proactively guard against the growing risks. Don’t hesitate to hire someone who can manage those risks for you. It’s just too important! The potential for losing new business or the trust of your clients is huge. You can’t put a price on that.

Want to know more? Contact us. We know the risks and how to mitigate them. We would be happy to discuss a plan for keeping your business protected!

Statistics Source: NRF 2018 Holiday Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics