11 steps to a safer Christmas online

Santa’s Checklist to a Safer Christmas:

** Check Your Anti-Virus Software Is Activated.
** Don’t Shop Using Free Public Wi-Fi Hotspots.
** Make Sure The Browser Has A Padlock or has https: in the URL.
** Avoid Using Weak Passwords.
** Google Search The Store’s Credibility.
** Minimize Your Credit or Debit Card Data.
** Check Your Anti-Virus Software Is Activated.
** Don’t use autofills or “save passwords or credit card numbers”
** Make sure you have updated all of your devices
** Monitor your credit card transactions daily.
** Don’t click on emails for deals or sales without double checking.
** Use YDF to send personal data to third parties like travel agents, banks, solicitors, real estate agents.

1. Before you begin shopping, double-check that your anti-virus software is running in the background. Softwares that includes anti-phishing and firewall protection will minimize the risk of cyber crooks stealing your sensitive data.

If you don’t have one installed, there are several available for free: Avast, AVG, and Kaspersky are among the most popular downloads.

2. Don’t Shop Using Free Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
You might find a hard-to-get item online and be tempted to purchase it right away. However, if your browsing through a public Wi-Fi hotspot, chances are your personal data could get snatched by a cyber crook. These public wireless networks are often unsecured and prime targets for hackers. Instead, wait until you get home or in an area with a secure internet connection.

3. Make Sure The Browser Has A Padlock or has a https in the URL
When shopping online, you want to be sure your private data, like credit card information, is sent securely. The online store you are browsing should display a green padlock in the address bar, as displayed in the image above. If there isn’t a padlock, then check that the website address bar begins with “https” and not “http.” Https connections are encrypted and safe. If you shop at an unsecured website, your private data may soon be at the hands of a cyber Grinch.

4. Avoid Using Weak Passwords
If you are still using simple passwords like “password”, “admin”, pass123, “guest” or other popular terms it is time to step up your security. Try using a sentence for a more complex password that is easy to remember. You can also use a tool like password manager to keep track of your many, long passwords.

5. Google Search The Store’s Credibility
One of the most important things to do when shopping online is verifying that the store has a persistent credibility. Although many online stores have secure padlocks, few still take advantage of their clients and may engage in scams.

6. Minimize Your Credit or Debit Card Data
To reduce the severity of identity theft, using one credit or debit card for your online purchases is probably the smart thing to do. You can even utilise a prepaid card with a limit set to reduce the impact of being compromised.

7. Moreover, when hitting the checkout button, be cautious of using your browser’s autofill or “save to” option. This feature will store your credit card information for future purchases; however, it could also give hackers another route to steal private data.

8. Ensure the software on all devices is up to date. On your desktop, your ipad and iphone. These updates are often fixing security vulnerabilities.

9. Monitor you credit card transactions on a daily basis – be alert.

10. Don’t click on emails for deals or sales without double checking the URL and company details. Think before you click.

11. Importantly, over Christmas you are likely to be communicating with your travel agent, bank, real estate agent or your schools. If you are sending personal data, ensure that you send it via an encrypted platform such as Your Digital File. Sending information via email is like sending all of your personal data via a postcard – anyone can see it, intercept it and alter it.