Be Good or be Safe – The Cyber Monday Security Manual


In the aftermath of Black Friday and as millions immerse themselves into today’s Cyber Monday shopping extravaganza, data security becomes a major concern for both consumers and (online) retailers.

Especially in the context of recent cyber attacks, with the infamous breaches at TalkTalk, JPMorgan, Ashley Madison and Morrison’s making the headlines all over the world, Brits are increasingly aware of the threats awaiting them in the online environment.

Sensitive data, from consumers’ credit card details to their cheating history is revealed, causing hassle and hearbreak; according to recent research by Deloitte, as many as 21 per cent of people living in the UK had their bank accounts used for purchase as results of cyber security breaches. Companies, which fail to protect themselves from having consumer data stolen, face financial and reputation consequences, including loss of consumer confidence.

Nevertheless, the sense of impending doom will neither stop consumers from shopping online till they drop today, nor will it prevent e-retailers from taking advantage of this unique pre-Christmas online sales pushing opportunity. Data from Experian and IMRG reveals that Cyber Monday online traffic is up by 60% year-on-year. The 2014 online sales holiday drove 161m visits to UK e-commerce websites, exceeding predictions with a 40% rise compared to 2013, with UK shoppers spending an estimated £720m.

As online shoppers, what can we do to stay safe? Let’s protect ourselves (not only this Monday) by following these 10 tips:

1. Make sure the device you are using for online purchases is protected with anti-virus software or a full security suite of products.

2. Regularly update software for your operating system and applications.

3. Don’t get tempted to click on the weblinks in unsolicited e-mails. Cyber criminals will use Cyber Monday as an opportunity to send out fake deals to your inbox.

4. Ensure that your computer’s phishing protections are switched on.

5. Refrain from using a debit card – credit cards, PayPal and gift cards are significantly more secure for online purchases.

6. Before you click the ‘buy’ button, triple-check the legitimacy of the website you are using to shop; the website URL should start with ‘https’ and a padlock icon indicating a secure network should appear.

7. Watch out for fake retail apps – cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated when disguising themselves and now create fake applications, which closely resemble original ones!

8. If something seems too good to be true, it’s a scam – Apple would not be able to build a viable business model by selling iPads for a quid!

9. As the majority of retail websites now require you to sign in to buy the items in your basket, make sure that the passwords you create are strong and unique. It’s not just a cliche – to be safe, your passwords really need to include upper and lower cases, numbers and special characters.

10. Free Wi-Fi is always a treat, however it’s better not to risk using it when you shop online – it’s OK to use it for browsing around retailers’ websites to identify those not-to-miss deals, but before you proceed to payment, always switch to a secure connection.

While some of the above tips, including the use of sophisticated passwords and regularly updating software, are highly relevant to enhancing security in the corporate environment, protecting companies from cyber threats is of course a much more complex process. The good news is that we are here to help. If you would like to strengthen your organisation’s security, why not start from analysing its current security risk maturity level through our ASSURITY Assessment? Click here to find out about our innovative three-step tool.

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Posted on : 27-11-2015 | By : Jack.Rawden | In : Cyber Security

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