Holiday Shopping Cybersecurity

Holiday Shopping CybersecurityThe upcoming long weekend is the start of holiday shopping for many consumers, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales from many retailers. Studies show consumers got comfortable with online shopping in greater numbers during the pandemic and have not returned to in-person shopping in the numbers seen before 2019. However, online shopping-related scams grew to 22% during the same time last year when victimized shoppers lost an average of $1200 each to scam websites. Online criminals are opportunists, so that number is expected to grow this year as consumers continue to look for holiday deals online. Hackers can also use the vulnerabilities of consumers to pivot onto business networks, especially since many employees are at work during Cyber Monday.

Employees should understand the possible online threats of this shopping season, and employers should have clear policies outlining internet use on company devices. Below are three tips to help you and your employees stay safer this shopping season:

Emails and Promotions
Employees should have a heightened awareness of promotional emails this time of year. Criminals will use spoof emails with the same graphics and text as reputable emails, but the links will lead to nefarious sites or requests. Look out for suspicious URLs, suspicious email senders, and requests for personal information. When searching for deals online, use trusted retailers and be wary of deals that are too good to be true. Criminals develop websites that appear in Google shopping results that look like fantastic deals, but the products never arrive.

Secure Payment Methods
When shopping online, use credit cards and online payment methods with robust consumer protection. Using debit cards online is ill-advised because it is a direct link to a bank account.

Hardware and Software Updates
Hardware and software manufacturers are hard at work patching against the latest security threats found in the wild this time of year. Be sure to keep devices and software like browsers up to date all year around, but especially during the holiday buying season.

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Posted by Charles Wright