Well here we are. We’ve made it through another Thanksgiving and Black Friday and are getting ready to transition into the holiday season. Happy Cyber Monday everyone!
According to a report by Adobe Insights, more than 174 million Americans spend $6.59 billion, yes that’s with a b, on this day last year, making it the largest online shopping day ever recorded. That’s up just under 17% from 2016, and while experts aren’t expecting to see quite as much of an increase for 2018, they’re still predicting more consumers will spend more money online.
So, in the spirit of online shopping and doing our due diligence to promote cyber security, here are our recommendations to share with students, children, parents and anyone else who may be out there shopping for staying safe today.
- Rethink shopping over public wifi. This one may be tough, since cell phone data can be a precious commodity, and that free, open wifi at your favorite coffee shop or library or wherever you chose to spend your time can look ever so tempting. But experts advise against providing any sensitive information, i.e. credit card numbers, over any unsecured network. Security on these public networks is never guaranteed and can be a ripe hunting ground for hackers and scammers.
- Be careful about where you shop. Scammer sites are getting better and better about replicating your favorite e-commerce sites, and a bad link or mistyped url could take you to a bad site. So be careful what you type and what you click on, and always check for that “https” before making a purchase. That little “s” there means the site is secure and encrypted.
- Make those passwords strong. It seems difficult to find a site these days that doesn’t require at least 8 characters, an uppercase letter and some sort of symbol, but they are still out there. It’s been said before, but it’s always worth remembering that simple passwords are easier to guess. We’ve all seen social media profiles get hacked and our friends and family posting or messaging weird things. Imagine if that happened to a site that had your credit card information saved.
Basically, be on alert if you decide to do any shopping today. Avoid weird, unfamiliar sites and do your best to stay on secured networks and secured sites. Most of all, trust your gut. If something seems fishy, it probably is. Stay safe out there!
This post comes from NICERC Marketing & Communication Specialist David Awalt.