SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Heads up holiday shoppers! As you scour the internet for end-of-the-year deals and discounts, it’s important to protect your PC from hackers and fraudsters who are looking for an opportunity to steal your personal information. While online shopping has made our lives easier, it potentially exposes us to new vulnerabilities that can compromise our identities and personal data and provide access to our credit card and bank account information. In order to help shop online safely this season, let’s take a look at some safety tips.
Ensure your device is up to date
A recent survey from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) indicates that more than half of respondents (51 percent) admit to delaying computer updates. When you receive an update notification from your device manufacturer or operating system vendor, make sure to verify the source and apply the update! It’s one of the easiest ways to help keep devices secure and protect data. In the same NCSA survey, only 25 percent of respondents were “completely confident” that their devices – such as their desktop computer, laptop or notebook – are free from viruses and malware. Updating reduces risk of infection from these vulnerabilities, giving you peace of mind and enhanced computing experiences.
Shop on websites you trust and check security
When shopping online, be aware of fake businesses that are looking to steal your credit card information and other personal details. To play it safe, make sure you are purchasing from retailers you absolutely trust and have shopped with before. Still not sure if the website is secure? Check for a small lock icon in the corner of your URL field. This tells you whether that page you’re on has privacy protection installed. Make sure the URL starts with “https” instead of “http,” as the “s” stands for “secure.” This means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. If you don’t see that lock or the “s” after “http,” then the webpage isn’t secure. Shop at your own risk!
Use a secure payment method
Be cautious of sites and apps that only accept money orders, wire transfers, or checks. It’s best to shop on websites that accept secure payment methods (credit cards and PayPal) that have well-known security labels such as DigiCert and VeriSign. With buyer protection, you won’t be held liable for fraudulent charges if there is a data breach. It’s also a good idea to always review your account transactions to look out for any suspicious purchases.
Avoid public Wi-Fi
It may be tempting to shop online at your local café while sipping on a gingerbread latte, but keep in mind, Wi-Fi networks use PUBLIC airwaves. Hackers can easily intercept what you’re looking at on the web and steal valuable information, such as your name, password and credit card information. It’s best not to shop online or log in to any website while you’re connected to public Wi-Fi. Just grab your coffee to-go and wait to shop online when you get home!
Lock your device and create strong passwords
In order to prevent identity theft, make sure to always lock your device and create strong passwords that can’t be easily guessed. Using a complex set of lowercase and uppercase numbers, letters, and symbols are recommended. Don’t use personal information that others can find, such as birthdates, your address, or your favorite color. Another good tip is to have separate passwords for every account. For better protection, consider multifactor authentication, which requires more than one method of identity verification (fingerprints, facial recognition). Hardware-based multifactor authentication, which encrypts identify verification within hardware, provides even stronger protection.
Watch out for email scams
Don't click on emails or links to "deals" that seem too good to be true! Clicking on these links could lead to phishing attacks that can infect your computer with viruses and malware. It’s better to play it safe: delete emails or messages from unknown senders and don’t open any attachments from individuals or businesses you are unfamiliar with. According to the 2017 Cyber Monday Phishing Survey, while 91 percent of consumers noted they were aware of phishing threats, two in five Americans have fallen victim to the scam. To spot a phishing attempt, double check the sender’s email address and hover over links in emails before clicking them. If the URL looks unfamiliar or suspicious, don’t click!
These tips were brought to you by Intel and the National Cyber Security Association’s (NCSA) campaign #UpdateMeow; a nationwide, coordinated effort to help remind desktop and notebook users about the importance of keeping systems and software up-to-date. The message is simple: when users receive an update notification from their device manufacturer or operating system vendor, they should verify the source and apply the update. It’s one of the easiest ways to help keep devices secure. Use #UpdateMeow to share in your social channels why you keep your systems updated. Together, we can make our interconnected world more safe and secure.
For additional information, please visit intel.com/updatemeow