Ten Tips to Stay Safe on Cyber Monday

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Allan Pratt, MBA

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Cyber Monday is the day when all employers cringe. They know that many employees will spend a portion of their work hours making online holiday purchases instead of working.

For employees who spend time making purchases either at lunch, break time, or at the end of the work day, here are some tips to stay safe on the largest online activity day of the year.

[1] Make sure your desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or mobile device has some form of anti-virus protection.

[2] If you use your laptop or mobile device at a coffee shop or other location with free Wi-Fi, don’t use your credit card online until you are home or away from the free Wi-Fi.

[3] If you enter your credit card or other personal information online, make sure that the website in the browser starts with HTTPS and not just HTTP because the HTTPS encrypts the information you enter (credit card details, etc.)

[4] Do your research before you buy. Check out reputable sites such as Amazon.com to make sure you’re paying a legitimate price for your item. Also, don’t make any purchases from a site that doesn’t have a privacy policy – there should be an explanation as to how the site uses your personal information.

[5] If you use review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, etc., take the comments with a grain of salt – they may not be accurate.

[6] While apps may ask for access to your personal information, you can click “no.”

[7] Make sure to “disable” the GPS location-sharing function on your phone and mobile devices. There may be times when you don’t want your location included with your online activities.

[8] There will be many emails in your email box during the holiday season, so be careful when you click on what looks like an email confirmation for your purchases, when in fact, the email could contain a virus once you click “open.”

[9] Some sites request a password. Use a different password than what you use for your regular sites.

[10] Log off from a site once you complete your transaction.

Lastly, if you’re on the road on Cyber Monday and decide to use your laptop or mobile device while waiting for your plane, don’t use airport Wi-Fi. Hackers are setting up bogus access points to steal your info.

Do you have a favorite safety tip for Cyber Monday? Chime in and share.

Allan Pratt, an infosec consultant, represents the alignment of marketing, management, and technology. With an MBA Degree and four CompTIA certs in hardware, software, networking, and security, Allan translates tech issues into everyday language that is easily understandable by all business units. Expertise includes installation and maintenance of hardware, software, peripherals, printers, and wireless networking; development and implementation of integration and security plans; project management; and development of technical marketing and web strategies in the IT industry. Follow Allan on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/Tips4Tech) and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Tips4Tech).

Cross-posted from Tips4Tech

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