Only…zero days left until the holiday shopping season!


Holiday shopping season has started…now!

The year over year trend shows that holiday shopping spending is increasing each year, with a new record predicted again for 2017. People are also starting their holiday shopping earlier.

The year over year trend shows that holiday shopping spending is increasing each year, with a new record predicted again for 2017. People are also starting their holiday shopping earlier.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility

The holidays are a time when people purchase gifts for their friends, families, and yes, even for themselves. Increasingly, children are using and accessing more and more digital devices — making it important for everyone to work together to secure these devices. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and everyone should do their best to practice good cyber hygiene.

Since people are starting their holiday shopping earlier this year, we wanted to provide some tips to help keep your online shopping experience safer as well as your digital devices more secure.

Tip 1: Make sure children don’t have access to an unattended device where purchases can be made.

Parents need to work with children on their “Wish List.” In the past, children used to ‘dog-ear’ pages of catalogues, but now it’s online. There are stories of children putting items on wish lists, and then accidentally or on purpose (it depends on whom you ask!), the item is purchased.

The Internet is full of stories of children and even toddlers online ‘accidentally’ renting or buying cars and many other items. This can be avoided by making sure you log out of any shopping pages or apps after you’re done with them or using a lock or password for your computer or mobile device, so it cannot be accessed by others.

Tip 2: Have a separate account for online shopping credit cards that’s not connected to your primary accounts.

A pre-paid card or a limited credit card can help you avoid losing larger sums if your card gets compromised online. Many online shopping sites in the past have been redirected by cybercriminals to forged fake sites, used to collect credit card details. Email phishing scams offering shopping ideas or discounts are also a popular method of scammers to collect card details in the Holiday season.

For those less disciplined among us, when it comes to shopping sprees, using a limited card also helps you stick to a budget.

Tip 3: Change passwords before the holidays and then change them again after. Or even better, use a password manager.

Choosing your password is perhaps one of the easiest, yet most challenging security measures that you can do. The objective is to remember it without writing it on a post-it that you keep next to your computer, but also making it complex enough that it is not easy for hackers to gain access to your computer. ESET Ireland recommends avoiding simple passwords like ‘12345’ or ‘password’ and using the same password over several platforms. Particularly the ones you use for your email and social media, shouldn’t be used for logging onto various shopping sites, as the risk of the cybercriminals intercepting them is just too great.

Tip 4: If you’re buying computers or other digital devices, make sure to get products to protect them as well, and make sure to install and configure them before the devices go online!

If you have new digital devices planned for holiday gifts, don’t forget the security products to help protect them. Unprotected devices can be infected in less than five minutes.

Use family-safe software and tools. No single technology solution meets the needs of every family, so explore the many different tools that can help you keep your children safe online.

Use an internet firewall at all times. The firewall is your first line of defence in protecting your computer because it helps to obscure your devices to online attackers and many types of malicious software.

Keep your operating system up to date; enable its automatic update features. Cybercriminals are constantly at work devising new ways to attack your computer and invade your privacy.

Maintain antivirus and antispyware software. Antivirus and antispyware software help protect your computer by scanning email, applications, and data that resides on your computer. Strong antivirus and spyware programs can detect and remove viruses and spyware before they have a chance to damage your devices.

Tip 5: Update your products (security and firmware updates that are available between the time the product is made and when you set it up), patches, etc.

Most updates and patches are done automatically, but some still require the user’s consent. Don’t put them off for days, because ‘you just don’t have time right now’, as this may just give a new malware enough time to infect your computer or device. If you remember to keep your software and firmware up-to-date, you can help protect your computer and digital devices and keep your computer and digital devices more secure.

You can read more about safe Christmas shopping in other ESET Ireland blog posts.

For information for how families can work together with technology for a more secure digital world, see Cyber Security Tips for Family SOeC basic tip sheet for families.

About the Authors:

Urban Schrott, IT Security and Cybercrime analyst with ESET Ireland,

Liz Fraumann, Executive Director of the Securing Our eCity Foundation, 

Fer O’Neil, Knowledgebase Technical Writer for ESET.

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