Cybersecurity experts are warning holiday shoppers to be extra vigilant this year, as more people than usual are expected to opt for online shopping rather than braving crowded malls and stores due to COVID-19.
What exacerbates this even further is the blending of our work and home lives due to working from home. People are using their home networks for both work and personal use, and an attacker could feasibly compromise both work and personal accounts in one fell swoop.
Sourced from the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre and other cybersecurity experts, here are some reminders for your employees to help them keep both work and personal lives safe this holiday season:
Research the online retailer
If you’re unfamiliar with the particular company or online marketplace, consider doing some research to verify that you’re spending with a legitimate business.
That is especially true if you receive offers via email. Verify the email domain is associated with a legitimate website and don’t click links unless you’re certain it’s not a phishing attempt.
If the padlock symbol doesn’t appear in the address bar indicating a secure connection, don’t give that website any information.
Practice good password security
If you use the same password for every account, consider switching it up and using strong passwords you don’t use anywhere else. That’s especially true for important accounts like banking, email, online shopping and others where your personal financial information could be accessed.
Two-factor authentication can also help protect your accounts by asking for another piece of information to verify that it’s actually you trying to access the account.
Use a credit card
Using a credit card to shop online is safer than a debit card, which is probably your main bank account.
Further, if a debit card is compromised, that means your hard-earned money is stolen. If a credit card is compromised, that money belongs to the financial institution that issued the card, and you don’t really lose any money.
It can take several days for your bank to clear up the fraudulent activity on your debit card, affecting your wallet immediately.
That amazing deal is probably too good to be true
If you’re browsing social media or come across an email with an amazing offer, make sure it’s legitimate before you click on it.
Scammers and cybercriminals use email and social media to lure gullible consumers into giving up their personal information to unlock some amazing deal, which is usually a scam. Compare prices before you buy.
Don’t shop on public WiFi
Public WiFi can be a goldmine for hackers and scammers, so it’s best to not send personal information — especially financial information — over public WiFi. Bookmark the website and wait until you’re on a secure connection to make the purchase.