With the holidays comes online shopping, and with online shopping comes hackers who use cyberattacks to try to steal your personal information. It’s a sad reality that can put a damper on the holiday spirit, but luckily there are a few ways you can protect yourself. Here are 3 cyberattacks to avoid this holiday season:
Phishing Email Scams
Scammers often send emails pretending to be from legitimate companies in order to trick you into providing them with private information. One way you can protect against this is by using two-factor authentication. This will require you to use Touch ID, a face scan, or enter in a passcode that you receive via text in order to log in. This makes it harder for scammers to log in even if they have your username and password.
If you suspect you’ve received a phishing email, check to make sure it’s from the actual company. If you have an account with the company, you should be able to contact them on their website or through a phone number rather than through the email itself.
Credit Card Fraud / E-Skimmers
Credit card fraud has been around for decades. “E-skimming”, on the other hand, has become much more common in recent years as hackers can break into online servers to steal your credit card information. One way to protect against this is to use online private cards. For example, Privacy.com allows you to create a virtual credit card, giving you a temporary number to use when online shopping. This protects your actual credit card information from being exposed in the event of a data breach.
You should also avoid shopping on public wifi, as hackers can steal your credit card information if you enter it in through an unsecured connection. Be sure to only shop online when you know you’re on your own secure wifi. Avoid free gift card surveys as well. Scammers often send mass emails offering free gift cards in exchange for filling out a survey. They will then require you to enter your personal information to receive the gift card, which they then steal.
Be sure to regularly monitor all of your accounts and set up notifications. This will send you an alert anytime you make a purchase, which can allow you to quickly catch any fraudulent charges.
Malware and Viruses
Many cyberattacks take the form of malware or viruses that infect and steal information from your computer. You should never click pop-ups (especially not from sites you don’t trust), as these may download malware onto your computer.
You should also diversify your passwords to make sure that if one of your accounts is breached, hackers won’t have access to all of them. Lastly, by using the most current version of your browser, you can ensure that your computer’s security is up to date.
By learning about what cyberattacks to avoid and following these few simple tips, you can keep the holidays bright and stay safe online.