Keeping track of everything during the holiday season can be hectic. Cybercriminals thrive off of these distractions, tricking shoppers during the holiday rush. How will you stay protected?

Picture this: It is the Monday after Thanksgiving. You are sitting down at your kitchen table, avoiding the holiday traffic and enjoying the coffee you made at home. No lines, no heavy shopping bags, just you and your web browser ready to take on your gift list.

Cyber Monday has brought convenience for many shoppers, but it also has created an opportunity for scammers and cyber attackers to find a large, and rather easy, target. In 2020, more than 186.4 million consumers shopped during the Cyber Monday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.

It’s important to be as proactive as possible to prevent irreversible outcomes. You need a plan to stay secure. While these may add an extra step to your shopping routine, it will ensure your gifts arrive on time and that your money is secure. Below are five ways to promote safe shopping online.

Join Blackink IT for a cybersecurity webinar
December 2, at 10 a.m. Register here.

Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi

Maybe you don’t want to go into the mall, but your nearest Starbucks lets you sip on a peppermint mocha while accomplishing your list. However, if you join their public Wi-Fi, you are creating vulnerabilities for unencrypted and unsecured data, like your name, address, banking information, and a credit card number. Always take advantage of your personal hotspot instead of joining public Wi-Fi when possible.

Do not use your corporate credentials on Cyber Monday

We all like to multi-task on our work computers. One minute you answer emails, the next you are meeting a colleague, the next you are ordering a gift off of Amazon. We understand having to keep your work and personal computers separate feels unnecessary. But, in the off chance that your cyber-shopping leads to a cyber-attack, not only is your personal information corrupt, now your organization’s data is vulnerable.

Ensure strong passwords

Everyone has their favorite retailer—and you never want to miss out on their rewards program or a faster checkout process. When creating a login, you must make sure that these accounts are protected by a strong password and to never use your work email. Attackers utilize fake tracking information to send in phishing emails, which are often mistaken as a real link. If the link is clicked, your organization’s data is vulnerable. So, continue earning those rewards without the added threats.

Stay with reliable retailers

When mindlessly scrolling on social media platforms during the holiday season, a targeted ad can stop you “mid-scroll” with the perfect gift at a great price. Chances are, the gift may not be what it says it is, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the retailer. Before you click the link, ask yourself if the offer can be trusted, both from the source (is it in an ad, email, or text message) and from the retailer itself.

Remain proactive, even after Cyber Monday

After closing all your browser tabs on Cyber Monday, hopefully knocking off your entire list, you should be periodically checking your bank accounts. To claim protection against fraudulent transactions, you must do so in a timely manner. Take this extra step to stay proactive during the holiday season!

At the end of the day, we are all human and we all make mistakes. So, the holidays are an ideal time to become more cyber-aware. If you are looking for other cybersecurity strategies, join Blackink IT for our cybersecurity webinar on December 2, at 10 a.m. You may register at the link here: