By now, most of you must have started getting emails and messages about great deals and discounts from your online shopping websites. And while most of us get preoccupied with our shopping spree, cyber criminals will try to make the most of this opportunity. How? Well, that’s easy. They might send you an email that looks like it’s sent by a popular online shopping website or set up a fake website that looks like the real one. They might also send you an SMS with a link to redeem an amazing deal with crazy discounts or they might even call you up tempting you with an irresistible offer! And these are just a few of the many ways attackers can catch you off guard during the holiday season. But hey, we’ve got your back with 5 cybersecurity tips for safe online shopping this holiday season! Let’s get started.
Tip#1. Do not easily trust emails or messages that talk about offers and discounts
While you might receive promotional emails from your favorite online store, you might also receive fake emails from attackers. But it is unlikely that you can tell the difference between the two. So, what can you do? Simple! Do not click on any links or download attachments in such emails. If you want to know more about the offer, just visit the website by typing its address (www.blahblah.com) into the browser’s address bar.
Well, she is happy clicking on every email she receives.
Tip#2. Say NO to free, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots for online shopping
Online banking or shopping using an unsecured Wi-Fi network is always a bad idea. Such networks can be easily manipulated by a cyber crook to steal the confidential details you are sharing while you are conducting an online transaction. So, unless the free Wi-Fi network you are connecting to requires some kind of an authentication, stay away from it.
Did you say “Free, unsecured Wi-Fi”?
Tip#3. Shopping websites without ‘HTTPS’ is a big no-no
The first thing you should do on your visit to any online shopping website is to check whether or not its address begins with an ‘https’. If yes, then you are good to go. If no, do not proceed. Https ensures your personal and financial information is encrypted and sent securely over the network. But, if you shop on a website whose address begins with ‘http’ and not ‘https’ then that could mean you are giving away all your confidential information to an attacker.
That’s HTTP for you.
Tip#4. Do not doom yourself by using the same password for all your accounts
How does the idea of using the same key to unlock your house, car, drawer, safe, or bike, sound? Bad and stupid, isn’t it? This is because, if a crook happens to grab this key, then they can commit multiple robberies without breaking a sweat. Well, the same thing applies to your online accounts. If you have the same password for all your accounts, you can easily imagine what would happen if one of these accounts gets hacked and its password is compromised. So, the bottom line is – different passwords for different online accounts. If you have a difficult time remembering all these passwords, use a password manager.
A hacker trying to guess your password
Tip#5. Sometimes, technology also helps
There is only so much you can do for your digital security. There are certain threats that cannot be defeated by merely following a cybersecurity hygiene. You need technology too – an antivirus that protects your computer with several layers of security. The antivirus should be able to block ransomware, fraudulent websites, stop malicious files from getting downloaded on your computer, block access to infected websites and protect your financial information while you are banking or shopping online.
FYI – this is not multilayered security
Now that you have these 5 cybersecurity tips for safe online shopping this holiday season, go shop till you drop!