When it’s finally over, 2020 will be memorable for myriad reasons. Among them is the uptick in online shopping. And with the holidays approaching and coronavirus raging, online sales continue to climb. In fact, U.S. online sales for September increased 43% from last year, according to Adobe Analytics.
But with that online activity comes risk. Some of your routine activities may make it easier for cyber criminals to access your sensitive personal data. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the threat of cyberattack.
- Buy security software and keep it up to date. Security software stays up to date with the latest malware and other cyber threats. This is one of the easiest steps ways to protect your personal data from being hacked.
- Reconsider sharing your email address. Whether it’s an intriguing newsletter or a sweepstakes, most people give away their email address without too much thought. In addition to inviting (even) more junk mail to your inbox, giving your email to unvetted sources can make you vulnerable to phishing or other scams. Sophisticated hacking software aggregates data about you from various sources and can construct a personal profile in order to steal your identity. Any and all information you unwittingly supply helps them do this.
- If you use public WiFi, avoid accessing websites that require a sign-in with personal information. Public WiFi is not secure and cyber criminals easily monitor networks that aren’t password protected, then intercept sensitive personal or financial data, such as account credentials or passwords. Consider this: a malicious actor may even deliberately set up a WiFi network with a name similar to the one you’re logged onto with the intention of intercepting information. Use an abundance of caution when signing into an unfamiliar network in a public space. If no secure network is available, use your phone as a hotspot.
- Never delay cyber security updates. Hackers are deft at exploiting security vulnerabilities during the time between when a glitch is discovered and later on, when most people finally get around to updating their software to a version that corrects that particular bug.
- Outsmart your smart-home devices. “Smart” electronic devices such as thermostats, doorbells, baby monitors and home security cameras are extremely vulnerable to hacking. And you’re not paranoid: devices with listening devices or cameras can be used to spy on owners. Never buy any of these devices used or from a retailer you don’t know. Open boxes from unfamiliar sources could mean electronics are already corrupted with malware. And: always change the device’s default password. Cyber thieves can leverage the fact that many people don’t change factory-set passwords.
Don’t let a cyber attack take you down. But know that we’re here for you if you need us. For more information on coverage, or to file a claim for cyber attack-related damage, contact us.