Top 5 Cyber Security Holiday Tips
In today’s world, cyber security threats are everywhere. Here are a few ways to keep yourself covered from holiday-centric scams.
1. Beware of fake hotspots
When you sit down at your favorite coffee shop, or are just passing time in the long line at the retail counter – beware of SSIDs like “FreeWifi” or “Guest.” Some criminals look to pick up your logins, passwords, and banking information over the wire. If you can, VPN or make sure to use SSL sessions, or just wait until you get home and you know your connection is secure. Don’t do banking or financial things while on a free Wifi hotspot.
2. Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date
It can be a pain to take the time to click on the anti-virus popup and let your computer cycle through an update and restart. But it’s imperative that you do that when asked – your anti-virus software company knows more about current threats than you and your mouse. The alerts or popups can seem annoying but it keeps you safer. And when you unwrap your new PC or Apple this year, make sure that installing anti-virus software is first on your to-do list. All connected devices can get attacked.
3. Set all your devices up with locate services
Inevitably, in the rush of extra activities and holiday shopping you can misplace or lose key things, like accidentally putting your iPhone down on a shelf while looking at a sparkly Christmas gift for your mom. Or you might leave your phone in a cab or a train. Most devices now have some kind of built-in location service that allow you to not only locate your device, but will remotely wipe any and all data from it in an effort to keep your personal information safe. If the worst happens and you lose your device, you will at least be able to keep someone from logging into your banking app.
4. Don’t open that eCard just yet
Lots of folks send out holiday eCards, long emails about their family and their past-year’s accomplishments. Check the attachment details and ensure the from: address is really Grandma’s. Make sure you know what you’re opening before you click that malicious .zip file that shuts your computer down and wants 20 Bitcoin to give last year’s holiday memories back to your hard drive. If you have never received an eCard from this person before, slow down and verify.
5. Set up transaction notifications on your credit cards
Many banks now offer SMS messaging that will alert you when a transaction has been completed on your account. Some people elect to set a purchase threshold amount of $50-100 so they don’t get notified every time they buy a candy cane from the grocery store. Be cautious and set up notifications. Increased credit card theft happens during the holidays. Transaction notifications can save time, money and headaches… you don’t want to fund a stranger’s family holiday or Christmas buying spree.
Be aware and take these recommendations seriously. Keep safe this holiday season!