How to stay cyber secure during festive period?

We all love shopping. Due to the travel restriction due to COVID-19, majority of us, like me, will be shopping online. I am sharing top tips prepared by Sonsoa Cyber Team to keep your online shopping safe and private.

Cyber Security Tip 1: Install antivirus on all your devices. 

Having antivirus software is must. There are number of free and paid versions. Some of free antivirus software are: Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky and Microsoft Windows Defender etc. It will detect and block phishing attacks and malicious websites on your PC and mobile devices before they can cause any damage.

Cyber Security Tip 2: Protect your identity and personal data when using a free Wi-Fi hotspot. 

Frankly speaking, you should avoid using public free Wi-Fi where possible. Connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot at airports, hotels, and cafes gives cybercrooks the opportunity to spy on you and steal information when you are shopping online or checking your bank account. In case you have to use it then try to use VPN such as Avast SecureLine VPN, which encrypts your communications and stops eavesdroppers from listening into voice and video calls. 

Cyber Security Tip 3: Use a credit card. 

Credit cards will not only help you keep track of your purchases, but more importantly, you have the option of contacting your credit card company if you notice any suspicious charges. Most credit card companies will contact the merchant on your behalf and reverse the charges.

Cyber Security Tip 4: Activate two-factor authentication wherever possible. 

Two-factor authentication requires you to enter a second code along with your username and password when you sign into one of your accounts. This code is typically sent to your phone or email address associated with your account or can be generated on a mobile device via an app, like Google’s Authenticator app. If you’re not the one trying to log in to your account, two-factor authentication can also serve as a warning system when someone else tries to access one of your accounts and fails to enter the correct code.

Cyber Security Tip 5: Look for the green padlock. 

Look for the green HTTPS padlock next to the website’s address in your address bar. HTTPS is a protocol that encrypts your data when it is being sent over the web. If you are on a checkout page and don’t see the HTTPS padlock, do not enter your personal data and financial information!

Cyber Security Tip 6: Update your software. 

Make sure all of the software on your devices is up-to-date. Attackers often exploit vulnerabilities, which can be found in outdated software and by exploiting outdated software they can infect your device to then steal your financial information while you shop online.

Cyber Security Tip 7: Stick to trusted and known sites. 

Try to stick to well-known shops when shopping online. There are many ways criminals try to lure customers into shopping on fake sites. Some try to take the conversation away from e-commerce sites like Amazon, for example, so that Amazon is no longer responsible and they can rip you off without any real consequences. Some fake shops attempt to attract shoppers by offering products at ridiculously cheap prices and have overly positive reviews on their site. If an offer or unknown site seems too good to be true, you may want to think twice before filling up your shopping cart and emptying your wallet.

Cyber Security Tip 8: Type out URLs yourself. 

Many phishing emails include links to malicious sites that look like the real deal and are hard to recognize as fake. It's always safer to enter URLs directly into your browser and you should, in general, avoid clicking on links and attachments that are included in promotional emails.

Shopping online is convenient, as you can shop from the safety of your home and avoid crowds, but you need to be at least as careful as you would be in store to protect yourself from thieves.