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Staying Secure While Holiday Shopping

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in full swing, it is important to keep cybersecurity in focus. From shopping to traveling, cyber affects several areas of the busy season. It is critical to practice good cyber hygiene and not let your guard down during the fun and festivities that occur during this time of the year. 

Online shopping has made purchasing gifts easy, taking only a few clicks to secure the perfect present. However, you should still be on alert while making purchases. Make sure the site or marketplace you are visiting is a reputable one. Before entering any personal information, check the encryption status of the site by making sure there is “https:” before the site URL and looking for a padlock icon. When the padlock is closed, information is encrypted.

Before making an online purchase, use a safe payment method. Monitor credit card and bank statements for fraudulent charges and be wary of emails or texts requesting personal information. Attackers may pose as a business and ask you to confirm a purchase, update your account information, or update a shipping address to get your personal information. Think before you click and verify the request before providing any personal data. It is always better to verify with a sender via a trusted phone number not listed in the message than to have your personal information stolen by a malicious actor.

When traveling during the holidays, it is also important to exercise caution when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. Malicious actors often leverage unsecure Wi-Fi networks to steal personal data by posting as a connection with a similar name to the legitimate network. If you connect to the cybercriminal’s network, any information you input while connected to the network, including passwords or financial data, is placed directly into the hands of a cybercriminals. A bad actor may even install malware on the device or track it remotely when it isn’t on the network, so it is good to avoid inputting personal data while connected to public Wi-Fi. 

You can also keep your personal mobile device safe this holiday season by downloading Michigan Secure, a free mobile protection app for Michigan residents, to see if links are embedded with phishing attempts and make sure Wi-Fi networks are safe. Download it on the App Store or Google Play