Are you rubbing your hands in excitement? Sadly, so are cyber criminals. This blog explains how you can mitigate the threat of an attack.
The number of people shopping online ahead of Christmas is expected to skyrocket this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consequently, cyber criminals are pulling the trigger on a host of new scams, phishing attacks and other malicious activities ahead of Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30).
With deals already coming in thick and fast, we're encouraging shoppers to follow five simple steps to stay safe while buying online.
The advice, compiled by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), includes:
Stay up to date: Cyber attacks are always evolving, and the best way to protect against the newest threats is by installing the latest software and app updates.
Use strong passwords: Be creative so criminals can’t guess them. A good way to create a strong and memorable password is to use three random words or numbers– such as bluetallrabbits or 15bulldog.
Use a password manager: Reusing the same password across different accounts can mean one breach compromises multiple accounts. Use a password manager to help you store your passwords securely and save yourself the trouble of remembering them.
Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA): 2FA means anybody wanting to access an account has to pass two checks, such as sending a security code to your mobile phone in addition to entering a username and password. This massively reduces the chance of being victim of a scam.
Don’t give away too much information: There’s some obvious details that an online store will need, such as your address and your bank details, but be cautious if they ask for details that are not required for your purchase. If you can avoid it, don’t create an account on a new site unless you’re going to use that site a lot in the future.
Traditionally, Black Friday is followed by Cyber Monday – this year Monday, November 30 – when the focus moves more to online sales.
But with England in lockdown until December 2, the two events are expected to morph into one.