Threat actors are becoming using increasingly sophisticated techniques for stealing and/or hacking your data. Nonetheless, busy holiday shoppers continue to purchase their goods online -- because, why not? Nonetheless, studies have shown that the 2019 holiday season will demonstrate a 20%. Consumers are excited to go shopping, and cybercriminals are happy to tag along for the spending frenzy.
Regardless of the types of cybersecurity policies you already have in place, malicious threat actors are working vigorously to exploit any and all vulnerabilities. In fact, they may have already penetrated your network and just waiting patiently for the right data transmission to catch their attention. If you want to keep your data and finances safe, here are the top three threats to pay attention to this holiday season:
- Phishing emails or texts
- Fake charities
- Online shopping
This is the time of year when your inboxes are exploding with offers and sales from all your favorite brands and retailers. Well, one of the easiest ways to obtain your information is by a phishing text or email. Not to mention, it doesn't require any coding experience. Essentially, cybercriminals construct an email to give the appearance that it is a legitimate company or contact. Then, they ask you to click on a link which will normally emit a malware injection to steal your credentials. You might be wondering why anyone would click on a link; you would be surprised. Often, threat actors have gotten so good at graphic design that they can create emails to look like a Netflix email or a Wal-Mart message asking customers to update their contact information via the included link. According to a Verizon study, around 92.4% of malware is sent through email because it's reliable. Needless to say, don't click on any links before verifying the message.
As they say, 'tis the season for giving. If we are able, we all like to help those in need -- especially during the holidays. Nonetheless, scammers are well aware that people feel more generous this time of year and have been busy setting up fake charities to steal your money. So then, what can you do? Make sure the charity is reputable by checking with Charity Navigator or BBB Wise Giving Alliance. And, steer clear of high-pressure expectations from site managers.
Despite major advances in online shopping cyber security protocols, there are still many weaknesses. For instance, the site should have encryption and SSL certificates before you make any purchases. Never make a direct bank account transfer. Review your card statements to ensure there are no fraudulent or surprise purchases.
The holidays are always a jolly and fun time for parties as well as for getting and giving gifts. Your spirits are high so don't let cyber criminals leave their lumps of coal in your holiday stocking.