The holiday season is right around the corner. It's the most wonderful time of year to celebrate togetherness - and treat your loved ones to the perfect present. It's also the best time of year for hackers to steal your important data and private information. With all of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and Christmas sales online, how do you protect yourself against a cyber attack when shopping online? After all, The Grinch isn't the only one who steals during the holidays. Here are a couple of tips to keep your information safe and your holidays merry and bright.
Beware of fake online shops.
You're shopping online and you come across a website that offers the product you're looking for at a highly discounted rate. It seems too good to be true, right? Right. Some hackers get clever around the holidays and create fake websites to emulate online shops - giving them access to your personal data and credit card information if you attempt to make a purchase. Here are a few ways to recognize fake online sites:
Double-check the domain. If you're on a specific site, make sure the domain name is accurate. For example, Next I.T.'s domain name is www.next-it.net. Some hackers may make similar websites by adding in random letters or numbers: nexxt-itnet.net, for example.
Check the lock. Have you ever noticed the little lock to the left of the domain name is the URL search bar? That means that your connection to that specific website is protected and encrypted, which means your data is safe.
Is it too good to be true? Most often, fake websites will advertise products at a highly discounted price. This draws in victims, which gives the cyber attackers the opportunity to scam you. Be aware of price points and recognize the signs of a fake website before you buy anything.
Google it! If you're unsure about a website, copy and paste the URL into Google search bar followed by "scam", and see what pops up. If said website is, in fact, a fake site, you'll be able to find numerous articles and warnings.
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It's important that you maintain the proper security while shopping online - especially during the holiday season when more online traffic means more hackers. Setting up firewalls to prevent unwanted users from gaining access to all areas of your network will help keep your connection more secure while browsing those Cyber Monday deals. Keep your software and security protocols on your devices up to date. This will protect against cryptojacking and the malware and ransomware of hackers, therefore limiting the amount of vulnerabilities within your system. Utilize programs like PayPal. This will keep the "seller" from gaining access to your credit card numbers.
The holidays are no fun when you get hacked, so stay smart and be prepared. Protect your data and devices against cyber attacks by following these tips and reaching out to a trusted IT company! After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year to online shop!
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