Staying Safe Online: Avoiding Cyber Threats During the Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for celebrations, merriment and good cheer, but it’s also the season for cyber criminals to take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers. Cyber threats come in many forms, from phishing emails and malicious software downloads to stolen payment data and stolen identities. It’s important to stay vigilant when shopping online, to avoid becoming a victim of online fraud. Here are five tips for protecting yourself against cyber threats during the holiday season:

1. Shop On Secure Websites

When shopping online, look for signs that the site is secure, such as an “https” at the beginning of the URL and a padlock symbol near the address bar. This indicates that the website is using encryption technology to protect your data from being accessed by cyber criminals. If you are unsure whether or not a site is safe, avoid inputting any personal information.

2. Be Wary Of Fake Emails

Cyber criminals often try to trick people into clicking on malicious links or downloading malware-infested attachments by sending out bogus emails that appear to come from reputable companies, such as banks and online retailers. If you receive an email that looks suspicious, delete it immediately and do not click on any links or attachments. There are often small indications that these emails are fake, such as generic holiday messages or small alterations in logo and branding.

3. Use Strong Passwords

Weak passwords are easy to guess, so use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters when creating your account passwords. Avoid using names, dates of birth or other easily-guessable words. When placing special characters and upper case letters, avoid beginning and end as an easy way to up the complexity of your password.

4. Don’t Use The Same Password

Choosing a secure password can be tricky and remembering it even more so, and this tends to lead people to use the same password for many of their accounts. This puts all of your digital information in much higher risk. If a hacker gains access to one of your accounts, they will also be able to get into all of your other accounts if you use the same password. It’s best to create unique passwords for each account you have.

5. Install Antivirus Software

Antivirus software will help to protect your computer from malicious software, such as viruses and worms. Make sure you regularly update the program with the latest virus definitions, so that it can detect new threats. An up-to-date antivirus program will be an asset in staying vigilant in the protection of your personal and financial information.

The holidays should be a time of joy and happiness. You can help ensure a happy holiday by following these simple tips, to keep your online holiday shopping is secure and safe. Enjoy the season, and stay safe online!