The madness of the holiday season is officially here, and to kick off the shopping season there are six tips you should keep in mind when it comes to protecting your personal information. While many of these tips apply to computers, laptops and tablets, don’t forget that mobile shopping can be at just as high of a risk for security threats.
According to staysafeonline.org, 2013 saw 52% of online shoppers using mobile devices during the holiday shopping rush – the highest percent ever recorded. With all signs pointing to even more mobile shoppers this year, here’s what you need to know before making that purchase:
- Public WiFi is not secure, so before you make purchases in public make sure you have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) installed on your device. VPN’s keep your information secure by encrypting your data.
- Only buy from reputable websites or brands you know and trust. And listen to that feeling in your gut – if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be cautious about any emails that include a link and claim your order has a problem – this could be a way that cybercriminals ask you to provide personal information (known as “phishing”). To help determine if the link is legitimate, many times you can hover over it and you’ll be shown the full URL of the hyperlink without actually clicking. There are also link scanning websites such as URLVoid to help you determine if a website or link is safe.
- Make sure you keep up with any software updates on your phone. This can potentially help you avoid malware and/or viruses.
- Use strong passwords with a combination of numbers, capital and lower-case letters and even symbols when allowed. This makes it harder for criminals to guess when attempting to hack your accounts.
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA, also known as two-step authentication) when offered. MFA is the use of 2 or more credentials upon logging in, such as a password, security token and biometric verification. Multiple steps mean your information is harder to access by criminals.
With a little extra attention to the details, you can still shop conveniently and keep your information safe this year! Don’t forget that AE Tech Group is here to help if you’re ready to talk about security ideas on a larger scale for your SMB – contact us today!