Industry projections report that roughly 80 percent of adults will purchase products online this holiday season. The Center for Cyber Security Awareness and Cyber Defense would like to share tips to keeping secure while shopping online. The following information comes from the National Cyber Security Alliance:
- Keep clean machines: Before searching for that perfect gift, be sure that all web-connected devices, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, are free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.
- Lock down your login: One of the most critical things you can do in preparation for the online shopping season is to fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
- Conduct research: When using a new website for your holiday purchases, read reviews and see if other customers have had positive or negative experiences with the site.
- When in doubt, throw it out: Links in emails, social media posts and text messages are often how cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices.
- Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it: When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember that you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
NCSA provides some additional tips for when you are on the go:
- Get Savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: If you are out and about, limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging in to key accounts such as email and banking. Adjust the security settings on your phone to limit who can access your device.
- Secure your devices: Use strong passwords or touch ID features to lock your devices. These security measures can help protect your information if your devices are lost or stolen and keep prying eyes out.
- Think before you app: Information about you, such as the games you like to play, your contacts list, where you shop and your location, has value just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps.
- Now you see me, now you don’t: Some stores and other locations look for devices with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth turned on to track your movements while you are within range. Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they’re not in use.
More information can be found online.