With the holiday season just around the corner, the reliance on computers and phones for crossing off shopping lists is more prevalent than ever.
Online shopping offers unparalleled convenience, but this ease has led to a potential laziness in safeguarding private information. If you've grown accustomed to saving credit card details or utilizing auto-fill options, you may unknowingly be exposing yourself to risks.
According to the Better Business Bureau, online purchase scams represent the riskiest form of consumer fraud, exposing your identity and financial information.
Here are essential tips to ensure a secure holiday season:
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Authentication, typically accomplished with a password, can be fortified with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA involves using multiple verification methods, such as a code sent to your phone or email, providing an added layer of security. Enable MFA wherever possible, especially when logging in with new devices.
Password Best Practices
Crafting strong, unique passwords for each account is crucial, especially for work accounts and social media.
Avoid easily guessable information and consider using passphrases, ensuring your password is at least 16 characters long.
Explore creative options like substituting letters with numbers or symbols.
Password generators and secure password managers, like 1Password, can simplify the process.
Beware of Common Scams
Be cautious of emails or messages pretending to be reputable companies.
Avoid clicking on links in texts or emails, especially those promising good deals or prizes.
Refrain from direct purchases on social platforms and never click on links or attachments from unknown sources.
Guard against malware attacks by regularly updating your computer and apps, downloading from trusted sources, and being wary of email attachments.
Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date.
Be wary of fraudulent text messages (smishing) from cybercriminals posing as businesses.
Avoid clicking on links, and if in doubt, verify the message's authenticity by contacting the company directly.
Stay vigilant against social engineering scams that manipulate emotions to gain access to personal information.
Take the time to thoroughly investigate any urgent or fear-based requests.
Recognizing Phishing Red Flags
Stay alert to signs of phishing attempts, including suspicious sender email addresses, pressure-inducing language, unexpected links or attachments, unusual email formats, and offers that seem too good to be true.
Additional Tips for Identity Protection
Avoid Saving Credit Card Information
Refrain from saving credit card details in your web browser for a more secure checkout.
Public Wi-Fi Caution
Avoid making purchases on public Wi-Fi, as hackers may intercept signals. If necessary, use a VPN for a secure connection.
Be Aware of Fake Online Shops
Stick to familiar sites or research to ensure the legitimacy of a website. Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals and flash sales.
Use a Designated Credit Card
Consider using a dedicated credit card for online purchases, making it easier to spot fraudulent transactions and promptly cancel the card if compromised.
Regularly Check Statements
Regardless of a secondary card, routinely check statements for any unusual transactions. Set alerts for purchases and promptly report any fraudulent charges.
Secure Your Passwords with a Password Manager
Password managers are apps that generate and store all the passwords for your online accounts in one secure place.
They use autofill to automatically enter passwords when needed, eliminating the need to memorize or repeatedly reset them.
Now, let's take a deeper look at how they work, focusing on the example of 1Password.
What is a password manager?
Simply put, password managers like 1Password are apps that generate and store all your passwords securely.
They use autofill to automatically enter passwords on websites and apps.
How do password managers work?
Here's a basic overview using 1Password as an example:
- 1Password generates a strong password using a built-in strong password generator.
- The password is securely saved in your password vault, end-to-end encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption.
- Your 1Password account password and Secret Key provide powerful protection.
- Encrypted vault data is sent to 1Password’s server for syncing across devices.
Are password managers safe to use?
Yes, password managers are a safe and effective way to enhance online protection. 1Password, for instance, offers features like URL-specific autofill, two-factor authentication identification, and continuous monitoring for weak passwords and potential breaches.
Family and Business Password Management:
Password managers like 1Password also offer options for families and businesses, streamlining digital life management for loved ones or within organizational settings.
In conclusion, implementing these tips alongside a reliable password manager like 1Password ensures a joyful and secure online experience during the festive season.
Last Updated on Dec 8, 2023