Read this before you do any more shopping this season!
This year we encourage you, more than ever, to commit to holiday cyber safety. We’ve put together a shortlist of tips to serve as your guide.
Be prepared to combat common scams out there so you can keep yourself, your business, and your family safe and out of harm’s way.
In recent years we have compiled a number of resources to help you along during the holidays that are absolutely still relevant and worth reviewing.
We have gathered tips for protecting your assets, warned you about the vulnerability of wearable devices, given you clues for you to sniff out phishing scams, given tips for outright stopping phishing attacks, shared 5 ways to protect your technology during the holidays, listed best practices for online shopping, outlined how to better protect your mobile devices, shared what we know about spearphishing trends during the holidays, and we also published our top 5 overarching online safety tips (not holiday-specific) for this year.
Even though all of those above-mention sources are available to you, we know how gravely important it is to keep up with the ever-changing threats landscape out there.
We want to keep this topic top of mind for our readers.
In conjunction with this post, we were also featured in a video series put on by the CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce that highlights ideas for promoting health & wellness during the holiday season. Below is the segment, which reiterates the tips we share in this post!
Here are our latest and greatest holiday cyber safety tips to help you and your team avoid all those holiday shopping and end-of-year scams and attacks!
Be Cautious On Public WiFi
We bumped this to the top of the list this year. Convenience and security, as we know, are sometimes opposing “forces”. We often have to compromise some ease of access for better protection, like in the case of multi-factor authentication for instance.
Here’s the thing: Criminals love to take advantage of people’s wants and needs.
This is especially true if people are in a time crunch.
Oh, and we are living in a society where instant access is not only possible… it’s getting to the point where we just expect it!
Bad guys know that if you sit down at your local Starbucks and you plan to stay a while you will probably look for a wifi network to connect to. When you look to connect you might see a network with a name like this: “Starbucks-open”. You will probably assume that it is the store’s free network and just connect. Right?
It’s very common for criminals to create fake wifi networks with no password that look just like the complimentary access that vendors provide.
Even when you’re on a password-protected, seemingly secure shared network, make sure you tell your computer about the environment. If your computer asks if the wifi network is public or private, make sure to say “public” so it stays on higher alert!
Hopefully, even before you visited this coffeeshop, you made sure that your firewall’s updated and that your anti-virus, anti-malware, and other software protections are ready to fend off attacks.
Avoid banking and other sensitive online activities while you’re connected in a public place, and check that website URLs start with “HTTPS” – it doesn’t guarantee that the site is totally secure, but it is much more likely to be a safe browsing place than sites without it!
Extra tip!: Always keep your computer’s bluetooth off when you’re not using it. Hackers hunt for open bluetooth connections, as they’re just another window into your device!
Use Credit, Not Debit
Putting your holiday purchases on a credit card means earning those rewards points and building your credit (so long as you pay it off thereafter)… but it can also mean you’re protecting yourself from fraud scams! We understand that many people want to avoid “spending what (they) don’t have”, but this also opens you up to be quite vulnerable. When you pay with debit, that amount comes straight out of your bank account, and you have very little time to notice and properly report fraudulent activity in order to sort that transaction out with your bank. In the meantime, you’re also out of whatever amount criminals took from you!
If you opt for using your credit card, you’re building a healthy buffer between your core assets and your spending activities. If suspicious transactions come about, you have time to sort it out with your credit card company and, in the meantime, your bank account is preserved.
We urge you to consistently monitor your banking and credit activity (not just during the holiday season), both on a transactional basis and your overall credit scoring as well.
Protect Your Accounts: Choose Strong Passwords!
We truly cannot stress this one enough.
- Make your passwords complex.
Don’t let your accounts end up on the Worst Passwords lists!
- Find a way to keep track of passwords securely.
- Use another layer of authentication for extra protection when it is available!
Those few extra moments could mean preserving your business and your livelihood.
Holiday Cyber Safety Is Critical
Keeping this issue top-of-mind is so important during the holidays, but businesses truly should make cybersecurity a top priority at all times of the year. We help businesses in Connecticut and Massachusetts to stay vigilant and secure 24x7x365.
Get in touch with us to learn what we can do for you and your business: