Cyber Monday is almost here, and the unofficial holiday gives you access to fantastic deals that help you jumpstart the process of buying presents for the holiday season — or treating yourself to a bit of retail therapy. However, it’s possible hackers appreciate Black Friday as much as consumers, if not more.
After all, fabulous prices on must-have items make people likely to whip out their credit cards and never think about the possibility of transmitting data in unsafe ways. Here are five suggestions for avoiding cyberattacks on Black Friday.
1. Use a Password Manager
When it comes to snagging outstanding deals as an online shopper, mere seconds can make the difference between buying an item and being too late because it’s just sold out. LastPass is an ideal complement to holiday shopping because it saves time without sacrificing security. Not only does it offer encrypted storage for login credentials, but it also stores credit card and address details.
LastPass makes holiday shopping a breeze by allowing users to fill in forms with one click. Then, you don’t have to take the time to type in your shipping or payment details and check them for errors. It also simplifies creating new accounts when shopping at new websites. It even auto-generates a strong password for you.
Plus, because passwords get safely stored in a person’s LastPass vault, there’s no need to go through the frustration of forgetting passwords or resetting them while trying to shop.
2. Shop at reputable sites
Online shopping has become so common that we sometimes don’t check to make sure the sites we are shopping on have good security practices. Thankfully, in our recent blog post we created a “Online Retailer Naughty and Nice List” that evaluates top shopping sites on how they protect your personal information from all too common data breaches.
In addition, be sure to stick to vendors you know and avoid obscure looking sites that don’t follow the format of well-known retailers, as bogus websites are likely to pop up with only the intent to steal personal and payment information. If it’s your first time shopping with a vendor, conduct some research to ensure it’s a legitimate seller.
3. Use a Multifactor Authentication Solution
Multifactor authentication (MFA) requires people to have more than one proof of verification when logging into a website. For example, in addition to providing a password, they also might receive a code via text or email that they have to enter before proceeding.
Newegg and Etsy both offer MFA, and they’re sites people frequent while shopping online on Cyber Monday and otherwise. But, numerous well-known retailers still haven’t implemented the technology.
No matter where people go online, using MFA is more critical than ever for protecting accounts and the information within from cybercriminals.
Hackers prey on people who don’t have thoroughly secured accounts and let Cyber Monday deals distract them from staying safe online. MFA offers extra safeguards.
4. Sign up for a Credit Monitoring Service
Sometimes, the first red flag that a cybercriminal has attacked is a strange charge on a credit card bill. But, credit monitoring takes another step by allowing people to know about changes in their credit reports.
Some credit card companies offer monitoring to their clients. However, individuals can also participate in credit monitoring from specialty companies. Depending on the service, identity theft insurance might be available, too.
5. Beware of phishing attempts
Cyber Monday is a great opportunity for criminals to send phishing emails ridden with data-stealing malware. And while phishing emails can be extremely convincing, they’re often identifiable by typos, spelling and grammatical errors.
LastPass won’t autofill on sites that aren’t legitimate. For example, if you get a fraudulent email from someone posing as your favorite retail store – and you click the link you will likely be taken to a fake website meant to capture your personal information. Because this site is fake, LastPass won’t autofill your username and password. This is a great way for you to ensure you’re only visiting legitimate sites. You can also always launch sites from your LastPass vault to ensure you are getting to the correct website.
Shoppers should also be aware that in the haste to grab a good deal that common sense and standard security practices don’t go out the window. Unsolicited texts, calls, emails or social media messages could be an attempt to get you to hand over an account login or credit card information, so be cautious of anything that sounds so good that it’s unbelievable from vendors you don’t know.
Stay Safe This Shopping Season
Shopping on Cyber Monday is fun, but it comes with risks. These easy-to-implement tips minimize them and let people focus on finding the merchandise they want at outstanding prices.