A Season of Deals…and Scammers
The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and it’s easy to get wrapped up and overwhelmed with all the great deals. These days, so many of us do holiday shopping online. The prospect of all those savings may cause some shoppers to lose sight of the need for strong online security during holiday shopping. Your personal details and, especially, your credit card information is valuable. Like all things of value, they can be stolen, and that’s exactly what cybercriminals are determined to do during this season of virtual deals. Here are six tips for helping maintain strong online security during the holidays.
Don’t Trust Public Hotspots with Your Shopping List
If you don’t have a cellular data plan or if your signal faulters in a public place, a free public Wi-Fi connection may seem like a great solution. We urge caution, though. These networks are completely unsecured. It takes only a little know-how for hackers to log on and intercept any private information being shared over the network. You can protect yourself by using a virtual private network (VPN) or by limiting the types of websites you use and visit. For example, avoid entering any passwords while on a public hotspot or sharing any other type of sensitive information.
Duplicated Passwords: A Holiday Gift that Keeps Giving
Using a unique password for every site that requires a secure login is considered “best practice”—and for good reason. We get it, though: As the number of login credentials increases, it can be extremely difficult to remember all those passwords. However, to a holiday hacker, duplicated passwords are like feebly wrapped Christmas presents that require little effort to unwrap—once the hacker’s got your password at one site, breaking into other sites where you’ve used the exact same one is much simpler. We strongly recommend against using them. Consider using a secure password management program instead to help maintain strong online security during holiday shopping.
TMI: The Perfect Gift for Any Resourceful Hacker
Sharing too much information (TMI) on social media can lead to a blue Christmas. Remember, cybercriminals regularly prowl these sites looking for any scrap of exploitable information. Before posting something about the holidays to your favorite sharing site, ask yourself: In the hands of a hacker, could this information compromise my personal information or make me vulnerable to being hacked? Is it worth the risk? You can greatly strengthen your digital security during the holidays by being careful about what you share and with whom, which leads to our next suggestion.
Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Lock
It’s not unusual for Facebook and other social media sites to experience heightened usage during the holidays. Fortunately, these platforms have privacy settings that allow you to control who can and can’t see your posts and who can and can’t reply/react. Finding those settings can take some work, but it’s worth the effort. Adjusting your social media accounts to be partly public or completely private cuts off a rich data source for hackers and can help you maintain strong online security during holiday shopping.
Ad Blockers: The Perfect Gift for the Web Browser on Your List
Merely loading a webpage into a browser can infect your computer with a virus or other malware. That’s because online ads sometimes carry malicious code that automatically executes the moment it loads onto the screen. Ad block extensions prevent website ads from loading, providing a strong solution for this problem. If you’re not using an ad blocker, it’s probably time to start considering one to help make your online holiday shopping more secure.
Keep Credit Card Numbers Under Wraps
Saving a credit card number to an online store where you frequently shop can make checkout a breeze. Unfortunately, credit cards saved online can make virtual theft a little breezier, too. If a site where you’ve saved card numbers gets hacked, you could be victimized by a holiday breach. For the same reason, we strongly advise against saving credit card numbers to devices, too.
GVEC—Because Local Makes a Difference
Looking for a competitively priced internet provider with top-notch service? We suggest putting GVEC on your list this holiday season. With GVEC Internet, you get dependable, high-speed internet from a name you already know and trust. We are local, responsive and deeply invested in your privacy, satisfaction and security. Best of all, we’re rapidly expanding availability of GVEC Fiber, which offers the world’s fastest internet technology. To find out more about GVEC Internet, call us at 800.699.4832.