Statistics show that more than 2.14 billion people are shopping online in 2021 - but that's not the only way that technology is powering the holidays. From Teams to Facetime, video calls are bringing families and friends together all over the world to bridge the gap and bring holiday cheer to everyone no matter where they may be! While there are plenty of perks that come with today's technology, new threats from cybercriminals are always cropping up with a strong spike during the holiday season as more people are connecting, shopping, and sharing online. From Atlantic to Pacific, nothing's as horrific as a cyber scare during the holidays. Here are some helpful tips to keep your data safe throughout the most wonderful time of the year.
Never Shop Online Using Public Wi-Fi
There's nothing quite like the shopping season, especially when it comes to snagging some great deals on Black Friday! However, think twice before you connect to that department store wi-fi. From internet cafes to retailers, public wi-fi signals can often be tapped by hackers and hand over all of the data passing through the access point - passwords, financial information, personal pictures, and more.
It's always best to save your online shopping for a time when you're connected to a private protected network. If you have to log on and snag that hot deal on a discount slow cooker that is the best deal of the season, it's best to use your cellular data. For those coffee shop breaks during the peak of your holiday shopping season, never leave your devices unattended. While they may not be stolen, it's easy for cybercriminals to quickly install spyware or another malicious malware program onto your computer to keep tabs on your online activity.
Don't Overshare on Social Media
We all love sharing pictures during the holiday season, but oversharing comes with more threats than just filling someone's feed with your family pictures! Burglars have been known to monitor social media feeds, seeing when someone is spending time away for the holidays to plan the best time to strike. Social media is a fantastic modern tool that keeps us connected to our friends and family throughout the year! However, it may be best to save this year's picture posts until you return home safe and sound - plus, it's a great opportunity to reflect back on an incredible trip!
Don't Open Suspicious Attachments
When the influx of eCards hits your inbox, think twice before clicking the open button. While Great Uncle John may get a kick out of forwarding the latest family email chain, it's easy for malicious attachments to make their way through a contact list and infect every piece of hardware along the way. If an account is compromised, it's also likely that a hacker could use social engineering strategies to try and convince others to share their personal information. It's important to treat every email attachment with care, whether it's naughty or nice.
Enable MFA for New Accounts
With new technology comes new accounts - and plenty of them. While it's important to use a unique password or passphrase for each account (or even use of a password manager), it's even more important to enable multi-factor authentication as soon as you sign up. MFA is the first line of defense against a cybersecurity breach, limiting access to your accounts and forcing anyone who logs on to provide a code from a secondary device. While not foolproof, this is a simple step that can go a long way in preventing malicious logins on accounts ranging from banking institutions to online gaming and everything in between.
Regularly Check Your Credit Card Statements
While checking debit and credit card statements during the holidays can bring a bit of a fright, it's important to keep an eye on all transactions and make sure that you're the only one footing the bill for Santa's sleigh. More online shopping can lead to an uptick in credit card fraud, which means it's more important than ever to look for suspicious purchases - from a few cents to hundreds of dollars - that could pop up on your account. It's also good to make the most of your credit card this holiday season. Using credit cards prevents direct access to your checking account, adding an additional layer of protection provided by your credit card company.
The holidays are often the most wonderful time of the year! By understanding today's top cybersecurity threats and keeping up with the online security best practices, it's easy to shop, connect, and share safely all season long! SeedSpark partners with businesses to deliver industry-leading cybersecurity and technology solutions that support them throughout the year with the tools and protection that they need to stay ahead of the competition. Connect with our team today for a free technology assessment and to learn more about how we can help make the most of your technology!