Emails that contain deals and links to discount websites that seem too good to be true will be the main cause of security issues this holiday season. The easiest way for a retailer to advertise their deals is by sending customers an email.
Because people are eagerly looking for deals, there is a spike in phishing emails during the holiday season and it is easy for attackers to appear legitimate. Don’t go to third-party websites that advertise specials. Just go to the website, whether it’s Amazon, Best Buy or elsewhere.
Most importantly, remember that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
For many shoppers, it may seem like shopping online is best paired with a coffee at a local Starbucks. Because people are shopping online, thieves will simply listen in on the shared public network, waiting for someone to unknowingly provide all their credit card information while paying for the latest gifts.
My advice here is to not use the public internet for anything except general browsing. Don’t give up your credit cards so easily – save it for home or for a private hotspot network.
Finally, don’t sign up for a retail rewards program at a third-party site you have never heard of. Everyone is looking for a discount and many sites on the internet claim to provide these discounts. When people register for these types of sites, they quite often use the same password and email as they use for many other sites. This means when a person registers on a seemingly legitimate website, they are giving up all their authentication for many other sites.
Remember to be suspicious of that too-good-to-be-true deal. And use different passwords for each website. It’s tough to remember every password, so I would recommend a password manager like LastPass to provide a secure method of storing and remembering those passwords. Additionally, be sure to secure your devices and network so you can keep your data safely locked down.
With this holiday season bringing 2020 to a close – along with an expected spike in holiday cybercrime – make sure you stay vigilant when making purchases.
Chris Morales is Head of Security Analytics at Vectra, where he advises and designs incident response and threat management programs for Fortune 500 enterprise clients. He has nearly two decades of information security experience in an array of cybersecurity consulting, sales, and research roles. Christopher is a widely respected expert on cybersecurity issues and technologies and has researched, written and presented numerous information security architecture programs and processes.