It’s that time of year when families get together and reconnect. It's also a time when we struggle deciding what to get our loved ones and find ourselves shopping fast and furious online.
The gifting season is upon us and the growth of online shopping continues to explode in 2017. Cyber Monday just finished with the largest online shopping day in history, reaching $6.59B. It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyways: Keeping yourself and your organization safe during the holidays is extremely important. Here are some things to think about and tips from our team we hope help:
- Be wary of email deals advertising holiday sales. Attackers are using the holiday season as a perfect opportunity to send phishing emails that look like they are coming from real merchants and vendors. The result of clicking on one of those emails may infect a computer or take a user to a malicious website designed to capture and steal credentials, personal information, or credit card details. 🎁 Train your entire organization on what these types of emails look like so they can avoid being tricked in to interacting with one. Educate your team to always go directly to the real site to take advantage of holiday sales rather than through the emails. One wrong click and your organization can be put at risk.
- Look out for fake merchants and vendors. Unfortunately the internet is full of fake websites, they’re so easy to put together and make look legitimate (all it takes is a couple of hours with a free website builder). Misleading websites are setup with the goal of stealing credit card information, and sometimes money from transactions, from shoppers who think that they have found a great deal. 🎁 Look for the green lock in the browser bar to verify encryption, but also be diligent about who you’re conducting business with online as the bad guys are now using those too. That amazing deal you just found, may cost you more in the long run.
- Don’t use public WiFi. We shared our thoughts on connecting to public WiFi in our blog a while back. Conducting online purchases is one of those activities that needs to be done securely. Remember, just because the WiFi network is named the same as your local coffee shop, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually your local coffee shop. It’s quite easy for someone around the corner to setup an “Evil Twin” router ready to sniff for sensitive information such as financial transactions and credit card data. 🎁 Be sure to use that hotspot on your mobile device instead of public, shared WiFi…it’s much safer.
- Protect your mobile devices. Mobile usage continues to rise. Reports show that during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 46.5% of all visits were from smartphones alone (and that didn’t even include tablets). You can be certain that much of this activity is happening on mobile devices that are being used for company purposes as well (one report shows 87% of businesses allow employees to use personal phone for business use). 🎁 Take the proper steps of protecting your business by deploying cybersecurity technology on mobile devices used by employees. The latest technology can assist in protecting against malware and can also restrict users from going to known or suspected malicious websites that could put your organization at risk.
As we continue our shopping mayhem, it’s a great time to slow down and ensure that we are taking the proper precautions while online. As our friends at the National Cyber Security Alliance remind us, be sure to Stop. Think. Connect. this holiday season.
From all of us here at Launch Security, we wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season!
Your Friends @ Launch Security