With a range of festivals throughout the festive months, this is truly a time of celebration and joy as people come together. Whether it is Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Diwali or Christmas, people everywhere are in a merry mood, spending time with their families and friends.
These festive times also mean that it is a great time for shopping. People shop for new things and with the advent of e-commerce, they log online to find the best deals and discounts. Unfortunately, holidays seasons are often the breeding grounds for cybercriminals who readily leverage security glitches and lack of attention towards cybersecurity to initiate various scams.
Some of the common ways in which users can get scammed by cybercriminals in these festive teams is through malware disguised as something safe. So hence, an e-card you receive from a gift may seem like a sweet gesture, but be careful, there may be malicious code disguised inside it. Or criminals can try and lure unsuspecting individuals of free gifts and discount coupons, which they know people are searching for during the holiday season. These lured people will click on suspicious links or fill out forms providing personally identifiable information to cybercriminals who will sell it off to advertisers.
Vigilance is always one quality with which everyone should use the Internet but in the holiday season, it is advised to be even more careful. Following the basics goes a long way as illustrated in these tips below:
A simple rule but even more relevant during these times. Even if you haven’t changed your password all this time, make a note and change it before indulging in festive shopping. Maintain different passwords for different accounts. This way, you are safe and even if your personal information gets breached, the hackers will not be able to use your other accounts.
You never know who could be watching your activity on a public WiFi. Wifis used at airports, cafes and other public areas can be extremely rudimentary without too many security features. These make it very easy for hackers to set up specialized software to collect all the activity that happens on these networks. Keeping that in mind, indulging in any activity where you have to give financial information on these networks would be stupid. Don’t do it.
People are in a rush during this season and often tend to procrastinate or overlook important tasks. This means important software, which include anti-malware, firewall and anti-virus solutions, may not be updated at stretch. Computers and phones will continue to remain unpatched which makes them vulnerable to new threats in the wild, a fact cybercriminals are extremely well-aware of.
A smart customer will stay ahead of the curve and ensure they download the necessary updates always when required.
Be careful when shopping online this season. Check the URL of the website you are on so that it is secure. Do research around an e-commerce site you haven’t heard of, to ensure you don’t lose your money. Be very wary of deals that seem too good to be true – in most cases, these deals are just a front to get your personal information. The same applies to emails from purported e-commerce companies – check their details thoroughly even if they look like they’ve come from a genuine well-known website. As anyone knows, forging these details isn’t very difficult.
Always keep checking your bank account and statement to ensure that there are no suspicious transactions. In the rush of the holiday season, customers can often go on swiping cards regularly and then forget to check their accounts. If there’s something suspicious that is happening, it is important that it is flagged immediately so that the necessary action can be taken.
Stay cyber aware and stay safe. Wish you a happy holiday season!