Five tips to help you give cyber criminals a lump of coal this holiday season

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The holiday season is a prime opportunity for cybercriminals to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers through fake websites, malicious links, fake charities, and phishing emails that appear to be from legitimate sources.

Their goal is simple: get hold of your personal and financial information to compromise your data, implant malicious software, steal your identity, and take your money. These emails may contain links to malicious websites or attachments that can infect your computer with malware. Therefore, it is important to take steps to protect yourself online during the holidays.  

Here are five tips to help you stay safe online during the holiday season: 

  1. Be cautious of phishing and smishing scams: During the holiday season, cybercriminals often send phishing emails and text messages that appear to be from legitimate sources. These messages may contain links to malicious websites or attachments that can infect your computer with malware. To avoid falling victim to these scams, be cautious of any emails/texts that ask you to click on a link or download an attachment. Always verify the sender’s email address or cell phone number and check the URL of any links before clicking on them. 
  1. Enable multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide two or more forms of identification to access your online accounts. This can include a password, a code sent to your phone or email, or a fingerprint scan. Enabling multi-factor authentication can help protect your accounts from cyberattacks. 
  1. Update your software: Keeping your software up to date is an important part of staying safe online. Cybercriminals often target outdated software with known vulnerabilities. Make sure to update your operating system, web browser, and other software regularly to ensure that you have the latest security patches. 
  1. Avoid public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, which makes them a prime target for cybercriminals. Avoid using public Wi-Fi to access sensitive information such as your bank account or credit card details. If you must use public Wi-Fi, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet traffic. 
  1. Shop only from reputable websites: During the holiday season, many online retailers offer great deals and discounts. However, cybercriminals often create fake websites that mimic legitimate retailers to steal your personal and financial information. To avoid falling victim to these scams, make sure to shop only from reputable websites that use secure payment methods. 

Also, while you are relaxing and taking a break, it is a great opportunity to check your social media privacy and security settings: Social media platforms can be a goldmine for cybercriminals looking to steal your personal information. Make sure to review your privacy and security settings on all your social media accounts to ensure that you’re not sharing more information than you intend to. You should also enable two-factor authentication on your social media accounts for added security. 

By following these tips, you can help ensure that you have a cybersafe holiday season. Stay vigilant and stay safe!