As the festive season edges closer and most of us get ready to fill our heads with food, drink and general merriment, we at OmniCyber Security would just like to gently remind you not to push cybersecurity out of your head while doing so. While Christmas is a time for celebration and joy, it can also be a prime time for cybercriminals to target unsuspecting individuals and businesses. To help you stay safe online while you’ll be thinking about other things, we’ve compiled a list of simple cybersecurity tips for the holiday season.
- Be cautious when shopping online. The festive period is a busy time for online shopping, particularly in post-Christmas sales and unfortunately that means it’s also a busy time for cybercriminals. To protect yourself look for the “https” in the URL, as well as a padlock icon in the address bar. These indicators mean that the website is using encryption to protect your personal and financial information. Make sure you use strong and unique passwords if you set up accounts with any websites and consider using a password manager to be as secure as possible.
- Be cautious of phishing emails. Cybercriminals often send out phishing emails during the holiday season claiming to be from well-known retailers or shipping companies, offering special deals or announcing that you’ve won a prize. These emails can look very convincing, but it’s important to be wary of any message that seems too good to be true. To protect yourself, don’t click on any links or download any attachments from these messages, as they may contain malware that can compromise your device. Instead, hover your mouse over the link to see where it will take you. If it looks suspicious, don’t click.
If you’re particularly desperate not to miss out on any potential bargains, you can officially verify the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of the email by contacting the company directly using a phone number or email address that you know is legitimate.
- Set up new devices securely. If you’re lucky enough to receive a new device over the next few weeks, such as a smartphone or laptop, it’s important to take steps to ensure that it is set up properly. Factory settings and default accounts can leave your new gadget vulnerable with exploitable flaws like weak passwords. One of the first things you should do is set up strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. This means using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, and avoiding using the same password for multiple accounts. Also try to avoid any of these common passwords. You should also enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a code sent to your phone or email in addition to your password when logging in. It’s also a good idea to update all software and applications on the device to the latest version. These updates often include vital security fixes for software vulnerabilities.
- Be mindful of work-related cybersecurity. If you’re working remotely during the festive season, it’s important to follow your company’s cybersecurity protocols to ensure the security of company resources. This may include using a secure, encrypted connection when accessing company resources, such as through a virtual private network (VPN). Be cautious of any suspicious emails or messages that may be trying to access your work accounts, and don’t share login credentials with anyone. When you’re finished for the day, make sure to log out of all work accounts to prevent unauthorized access. As with anything else, make sure you have strong and unique passwords and enable multi-factor authentication for any work accounts.
It’s important to remember that cybersecurity isn’t just a concern during the busy holiday season – it’s something that should be at the top of your mind all year round. As technology becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives, the risk of cyber threats is constantly growing. That’s why it’s crucial to take steps to protect yourself and your workplace and raise awareness of potential dangers.
For more advice on how to keep safe this Christmas and beyond, contact our expert team today. From all of us at OmniCyber Security, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!