cyber monday

3 Cyber Monday Security Tips

We know Cyber Monday is coming up and we want you to be able to shop without the worry of your private information being stolen! The number of cyberattacks goes up almost 40% on Cyber Monday. With COVID-19 causing an increase in people shopping virtually online, cybercriminals see this as an increase in targets. Instead of just one heightened day of online shopping, there are multiple days this year that online sites are having their normal “Black Friday” sales.

In 2016, of the accounted for victims of cyberattacks, 81,024 people were affected and there was a total of 138 million dollars in losses. Of course, these numbers could be even larger because the FBI has stated that only about 15 % of victims of fraud actually report the attack. In 2016, Texas ranked 3rd in the nation for the largest average total dollars lost in cybercrime.

Flash forward to now in 2020, cybercriminals still are thriving. In the first half of 2020, new forms of malware have been discovered and phishing attacks increased from 46% in 2019 to 83% in 2020 (Cisco Umbrella).

Cyber threats are evolving and therefore, we all need to evolve to protect our private data from these threats.

How Do Scammers Steal Data on Cyber Monday

Scammers keep up to date with the latest specials going on so that then they can create their own deals in “ads”. When shoppers click on the “ads”, malware is automatically and secretly installed on that person’s device. Another occurrence that happens when these “ads” are clicked on is that the website it is linked to will collect personal information such as credit card, address, name, phone number, etc. There are also non-delivery scams. This involves customers ordering and paying for goods online that are not delivered.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has announced a warning about virtual holiday events where scammers might create fake events that charge for admission and will steal card information. A different take on this same scam is that some virtual holiday markets may allow for links to online stores to be shared. There have already been claims of some links downloading malware when clicked on instead of leading to a shop.

3 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Private Data On Cyber Monday

How are you going to protect your private information, like name, birthday, bank accounts, address? There are three, easy to implement immediately, tactics to protect your data this year while Cyber Monday shopping.

1. Do not click on advertisements you see on the web.

Instead use your web browser to search DIRECTLY to a retail site because if the advertisement is truly from that retailer, then it will be on their site. For any virtual holiday markets or events, avoid clicking the first link you see and instead search directly for that company.

You should do the same tactic for any email promotions you receive. Another option for consumers is to hover over the link in the email to see the URL to make sure it is actually from the retail outlet. 

2. Do not use your debit card.

We recommend using your credit card instead of a debit card for any online purchases. You can avoid using a debit or credit card completely by purchasing prepaid cards such as VISA gift cards before Cyber Monday and using those to buy your products. Another option is to use Apple Pay or Google Pay. These applications hide your payment card information and instead uses a one-time code that is used for one purchase.

On another note, when using a credit card, do not save your credit card information on any site. One recent survey done in October of this year shows that 65% of consumers admit to saving credit card numbers on their devices! It’s as easy as someone stealing your laptop or device and being able to access all of your saved credit and debit card information.

3. Never Purchase Anything While Using Public Wi-Fi

Anyone with the malicious intent of stealing your private data can intercept the data you send over public Wi-Fi. We recommend reserving your online shopping to only at home or with private Wi-Fi, where there is no shared password.

If you do still decide to make purchases online while using public Wi-Fi, install a virtual private network (VPN) to your devices. A VPN will keep your information private from not only cybercriminals but also your internet service provider and advertisers by creating an encrypted connection between your devices and the VPN server.

References: ThreatPost, CyberArk, Forbes, LifeLock