Cybersecurity Tips for the Holiday Season

David Riedl

The time of year is quickly approaching when our thoughts shift to family, friends and enjoying all that the holiday season brings. Unfortunately, cyber-criminals know this as well.

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The time of year is quickly approaching when our thoughts shift to family, friends and enjoying all that the holiday season brings. It a time to relax, reflect on the year and celebrate with our loved ones. Unfortunately, cyber-criminals know this as well. This is potentially their busiest time of the year, especially as online shopping continues to grow. Whether it’s through phishing schemes, ransomware attacks or malware that watches your every click as you surf for the best online deals, now is the time to remain vigilant, both at home and work.

Here are few things to keep on your holiday list:

  • Ensure that every shopping website you visit is secure by checking the address bar for the padlock displayed next to the web address.
  • Protect all credit card numbers in use. Criminals often use a cell phone’s camera to record a credit card transaction to steal the numbers, which can then be used on the Internet.
  • Set up alerts on your credit cards to notify you whenever a transaction is made.
  • Use a pre-paid debit card, credit card or a third-party payment service, such as Google Pay, Apple Pay or Paypal, to make your purchases. If your debit card number is compromised, funds are immediately deducted from your account, which can be more difficult to recover.
  • Review financial and email accounts often during the holiday season to detect any unauthorized purchases or activity.
  • Be cautious and trust your instincts when a seller seems suspicious. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If you are making charitable contributions this season, take the extra step to independently verify a charity, even if it is recommended by a friend. Fraudulent charities thrive during the holiday season as unscrupulous persons take advantage of people’s goodwill. Givewell.org, Charitywatch.org and CharityNavigator.org are great tools for verifying the legitimacy of charities.
  • Be cautious about giving away too much information on your social media accounts. Burglars often use social media to determine if a family is away for the holidays.

The most important thing to remember is to take time to enjoy the holidays. Don’t let criminals ruin it by being a victim or stressing over the possibility. Using safe practices year-round provides the best assurance that you will be ready for the holiday season and can focus on what is truly important to you and your family.

Learn more about Jensen Hughes cyber and information security services.

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