Santa and reindeer in the stores, colder weather, and holiday carols in the distance, that means Christmas time is here. With the holidays just around the corner, everyone is starting to do their shopping. While most stores are open again, online shopping is expected to dominate this year. This is largely due to the pandemic still going on, because it is easier to have the items shipped to your door.
With the increase in online shopping, consumers are potentially exposed to more cyber risks. As we move through this holiday season, it is important to remain safe online. Here are a few tips that can help you protect yourself from cyberthreats this holiday season.
1 Change your Passwords
Simple passwords are easier for cybercriminals to crack. Simple passwords usually are the ones that consist of your kids or pets name, birthdays, or a combination of them. Be sure to resist using these kinds of passwords. It can be difficult to know who has access to an account. A healthy practice to reduce the risk is to use complex passwords or even better is a phrase. Yes you can do that!
Another good practice is to not repeat the password elsewhere. If a password is compromised on one account, the hacker may try to use it on another account. Out of laziness, most people tend to use the same password for every account. Having a good and trusted password manager, like LastPass, can not only keep track of your accounts, but also help generate new and unique passwords.
2 Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Adding a second layer of defense can help to lower risks. This second layer is called two-factor authentication or 2FA for short. 2FA means that you need more than just a password to login to an account. It usually works with either your password and a one-time code sent to your phone or email, or a password and an approval through a separate app on your phone. This is the best defense against hackers who already may have your credentials. If you see it available on the websites your signing up for, do it. LastPass authenticator even has their own which backs up to your encrypted account. This is super helpful if you lose your phone and need to recover.
3 Using Good Anti-Malware
Installing good anti-malware can protect you from viruses, spyware, ransomware, worms, rootkits, and Trojan horses. A good anti-malware will do all of this in the background, scanning all local files and deleting and quarantining suspicious files. A reputable cybersecurity software will automatically update itself against the latest threats. It is also good practice to regularly update all software, including operating systems, to the latest update to help protect against the latest threats.
4 Use Common Sense
While software can do most of the legwork, being aware of the myriad of threats out there. It is possible that you may have received an email from say your bank or favorite shopping site urgently asking you to verify your information. These can look very legitimate but often are phishing emails. Think of the “Nigerian Prince” emails that are still around today. That is a type of phishing scam that tries to gain money or access from you. There are many others like it. They can come in looking like a variety of different companies, trying to gain personal info like bank records, Social Security, or passwords. Just know that organizations that need you to confirm info, will never send an email in an urgent manner. If you are ever in doubt about whether an email is real, reach out to the company with contact information that you already have, not the ones on the email.
Cyberattacks can come from anywhere, so it is important that you keep yourself safe. The best way to do that is to prevent it from happening. At EZETech we make the process simple. We know that cyberthreats can be scary and setting up security measure can seem overwhelming. Cybersecurity is one of our specialties. If you were to every need help or have any questions, please reach out to us because we are here to help.
Contact EZETech today for more information on our IT services.