It’s that time of year again; people are being merry and buying presents for their loved ones. We are quickly closing in on the last few days of the year and it is important as ever to keep yourself and your assets safe from holiday Scrooges. Understanding what you can do to protect yourself both on and offline will help keep you safe this holiday.
1. Holiday Emails. Emails are one of the most popular vectors for trying to compromise your security online. They serve as an easy form of advertisement to grab people’s interests, but what they lead to could be malware or a site to steal your user credentials or credit card information. Be weary of who is sending you holiday adverts and if there are deals that you are interested in, try going to the reputable website and finding the deal there instead of clicking links
2. Insecure Websites. Have you ever noticed in your URL the padlock next to the website name? If you have, it means you are on a site that is securing the data that you are sending to its servers. If you are on a site without that padlock it means that your sensitive information could be leaked to an untrusted source. Be safe and only enter your credentials and credit card information on sites with the padlock.
3. Free WiFi. You are probably starting to spend more time outside shopping and way from your wifi. This means you may start to use more data than you tend to and are nearing your data limit. This leads to the desire to connect to the enticing free wifi hotspots that are scattered around in public. However, be careful of free wifi since there could be lurkers also using the hotspot trying to sniff out leaked information from the insecure sites you use. There are even tools used to create fake hotspots where there sole purpose is to redirect you to malicious sites or steal your sensitive data. To keep safe, do not connect to public wifi and keep to your cellular data.
4. Password Reuse. It feels like every other month we hear about yet another data breach in a large company. These data breaches sometimes lead to the exposure of passwords and puts your confidentiality in risk if you reuse passwords. Ensure that you do not reuse your passwords on sites since if your password is ever compromised an attacker could log into all of your accounts if they knew your email or username. Protect yourself today and get a password manager to ease the stress of trying to remember your passwords!
5. Fake Store Apps. A little late but better now than sorry. If you are shopping this holiday on your phone with apps, be careful that the app you are downloading is legitimate. Many apps have been created solely to expose your personal information. Be it by means of getting you to type in your passwords or to install malware on your device. If you are doing any holiday shopping, keep to the secure web sites or visiting the stores.
1. Parking Lots. Ensure that you park close to where you are going and in well lit areas. Make sure that you take valuables with you, or lock them in a compartment or in the trunk. Be alert to any suspicious situations around you that could risk your safety.
2. Crowds. Don’t go out alone and make sure that you are with friends. When in a group, you are safer and less of a target. Still be aware of your surroundings and watch out for pick pockets that may try to take advantage of the disorder of a large group.
3. Sleight of Hand or Trickery. Some thieves try to play you in order to take advantage of you. One popular manner to get you to expose your phone is to ask for directions. Some people may be inclined to pull out a map app to help and this is what they want. Now they can either just snatch your phone or note where you put it to perform a sleight of hand. Be careful and remain aware of your surroundings.
4. Unwatched Items. Other thieves may be less direct and simply watch you until you put a valuable item down and then swoop in for the steal while you are not looking. Always keep your personal items on you and do not let go of your valuables such as your phone, wallet, or purse. As a side note, keep your devices locked with a passcode and require a password every time the device locks. This way if someone does take your device, they are not able to access your data immediately.
5. Drink Responsibly. It’s the holidays and the new year is dawning. During this time it may be natural to go out and have a few drinks at a holiday party or bar. Drink responsibly so that you do not put yourself at risk of being taken advantage of or putting lives in danger by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Keeping these items in mind will help you have a more secure holiday and new year. Remember to be safe and have fun!