Keep Online Shopping from Ruining Your Holidays
Uh oh. It’s the big day, and you’ve just realized that you’ve forgotten to purchase a gift for a special someone (or twelve). Thank goodness for online shopping, right? However, you still need to keep your digital security in mind as you try to save the holiday--cybercriminals aren’t the type to take a break during one of the most potentially lucrative times of year.
Here are some steps to help you ensure your security remains intact as you participate in some last-minute holiday ecommerce.
Assume Public Wi-Fi is on the Naughty List
Throughout the holiday season, coffee shops and similar establishments do a booming business through weary shoppers stopping in for a caffeine-fueled recharge. Some shoppers may even continue their shopping online, making use of the free Wi-Fi connectivity the cafe offers. However, if you do venture out in search of a forgotten gift and stop to grab a cup of coffee or a pastry, resist the urge to connect to the free Wi-Fi as you continue shopping. Cybercriminals will often set up fraudulent, but similarly named connections as the authentic Wi-Fi signal to entice potential victims into their clutches, or will lurk on the establishment’s Wi-Fi and wait for their prey to connect to it.
Instead, use your mobile data as you do some online price-checking, or take care of it at home before venturing out. It is a much more secure option than the signal provided by your favorite coffee shop.
Don’t Try Something New
Chances are, even after a few strong eggnogs, you could list off a few well-known online merchants. When shopping online, these are the ones you should stick to. Amazon, Ebay, and official brand websites are established enough to have a lot riding on their reputation, and also have the resources to keep their transactions secure.
On the other hand, while the website you’ve never heard of before may seem to offer great deals, you shouldn’t use these websites. Even if they are legitimate, there’s a good chance that their security isn’t even close to what a well-established brand will probably have implemented--and there’s always the chance that they aren’t legitimate at all. “Too good to be true” is a very real online phenomenon, as many offers that are “too good to be true” are the bait that a cybercriminal leaves.
At the very least, make sure that any website you do make a purchase from has the signs of basic security precautions. The URL should begin with “https,” which indicates that the site uses a more secure protocol.
Use a Single Card
Consider how many credit cards you have, including a debit card from your bank. When shopping online, especially during the holidays, you should avoid using more than one of these cards. The reasoning is simple: if you were to have your data stolen in a cyberattack, you’re only losing one of your cards instead of potentially losing all of them. Furthermore, you should check into what protections the card provider has to shield you from the liability of fraudulent purchases.
Remember, it will be hard to have a happy holiday if your financial data winds up absconded with, so it makes sense to take the steps to make sure it is protected. For more best practices, as well as the solutions to keep your business secure as well, reach out to Ciracom at (703) 621-3900.
We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!