Lucky 7: top tips for a cyber-secure festive season

Christmas_lightsThe holiday period often goes hand-in-hand with retail therapy. With many purchases being made online, make sure you know how to shop securely so you can enjoy the festive season. Just remember the word…HOLIDAY.

H. Https not http. Look for ‘https’ in the web address when making an online transaction. The ‘s’ in ‘https’ stands for ‘secure’ and indicates that communication with the webpage is encrypted. Also, click on the lock in the address bar (top left-hand side) and check if the address in the popup window matches the webpage you are on. Avoid the ‘remember my card’ option whenever possible as this could give anyone using your device access to your credit card.

O. Official sources – not knock-off options. Only install applications from official stores, such as Google Play for Android and the App Store for Apple devices. If iOS shows an ‘Untrusted App Developer’ alert when you’re opening an app, click on ‘Don’t Trust’ and uninstall the app immediately. And use recognised anti-virus software on (like McAfee or Kaspersky) both on your home computer and mobile devices, making sure that you run it regularly.

L. Links may not be what you think. Before you click on links or open attachments in emails, check if you know the sender. Did you ask for the information or is it an unsolicited message? Banks will never ask you to confirm your account information in an email. Hover your mouse over the link to check where it’s going to take you. And don’t install software from a third party pop-up when viewing a webpage.

I. Insecure connection? Don’t use public computers or public wireless connections for your online shopping. Public computers could contain malicious software that steals your credit card information when you place your order. Criminals could see the details you submit on public wireless networks to steal credit card numbers and other confidential information.

D. Don’t let your device talk to strangers. Don’t pair it with untrusted or unknown computers or devices. It is best to keep pairing services off until you need them. And don’t link your company and personal devices.

A. Activate your updates. Stay on-trend (in the security world) with the latest software updates on your personal devices. These usually happen automatically, but if you’re unsure, visit the supplier’s website for advice.

Y. Your password protects you, so make it a strong one. A password is considered ‘strong’ if you include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. And don’t make it too short. Eight characters should be an absolute minimum! Use a convention to create a strong password that you will remember easily so you do not write it down. Never share your password with anyone.

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