In 2016, for the first time ever, shoppers bought more online than in stores. It’s very convenient, but keep in mind all Internet-connected devices are vulnerable, especially when being used for purchases.
The holiday season is the perfect time for cybercriminals to take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers. When you go to the grocery store or local shop, it’s standard to grab your reusable bags, lock the car, and make sure you’ve safely put away your credit card or cash before heading home with the day’s purchases. Similar precautions need to be taken when you’re shopping online from the comfort of your own home. If you make these simple precautions regular online shopping habits, you’ll be protecting your purchases and personal information.
Follow these tips, and share them with friends and family:
Set up 2-step authentication wherever possible. At Williams this is done from https://www.google.com/landing/2step/ . Apple, PayPal and most likely your banking sites also encourage you to set up 2-step authentication.
- Use a different password for every site. Don’t let a breach at TJ Maxx compromise your Amazon account. You can easily have different passwords by using a password manager like LastPass: http://oit.williams.edu/help-docs/lastpass-password-manager/ or Valt: https://valt.io/
- Check out as a guest whenever possible.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card.
- Monitor your bank and credit card statements.
- Monitor your credit report – identities are more valuable than credit cards and do not have an expiration date.
- Keep clean machines. Before searching for that perfect gift, be sure that all web-connected devices—including PCs, mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets—are free from malware and infections by running antivirus like Sophos Home edition for Macs and Windows Defender for PCs. Also keep software up to date and allows security patches to run.
- Shop reliable websites online. Conduct research. When using a new website for your holiday purchases, read reviews and see if other customers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
- Personal information is like money: value it and protect it. When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction.
- Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots. If you are out and about, limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging in to key accounts, such as e-mail and banking.
- Check the address bar. Look for the green lock icon and https:// in the URL before using your credit card online.