Cyber security tips for the holiday season

As the holiday season approaches, Australians spend billions of dollars through online shopping to find a perfect gift for Christmas. While online shopping is preferred by many of us due to its convenience and range of offers, it comes with risks.

Online shopping is an attractive target for cyber criminals, who use it as a way to steal money and personal details. This is done through a variety of methods such as:

  • selling non-existent products
  • collecting personal and financial information
  • installing malicious software (malware) on your device.

How can you shop online securely and stay safe?

Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to ensure you stay safe during the holiday season.

Stick to well-known, trusted businesses

Be wary of deals that look too good to be true. Instead, head to the well-known, trusted websites. The advertisements on many social media websites can lead to fake websites during the holiday season.

Watch out for scam messages

Scam emails and messages rise during the holiday season. Criminals commonly use SMS or email with links to fake websites to try to steal personal or financial information. Think twice before you click on links. Instead, type the actual website address into the browser to make sure you’re accessing the legitimate website.

Learn more about scams

Be aware of social media scams

Advertisements that pop up on your screen when shopping online or using social media are clever and persistent marketing tactics looking to promote products or services during the holiday season. Hackers use Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites to take online customers to scam websites and encourage them to click on links that can result in a user giving up their login credentials or downloading malware.

Ensure that your devices are up to date and virus protection is installed.

Learn more about how to protect your device

Watch out for requests to pay with direct transfers

Use PayPal or credit/debit card instead. Many financial institutions provide zero liability policies, so you don’t have to pay for fraudulent activities. Monitor your bank account regularly to ensure there are no unusual transactions.

Monitor internet usage and access during the holiday season

Travel should be a relaxing break, but you might be exposing your sensitive information such as bank information and passwords for accounts when using free public Wi-Fi.

Public Wi-Fi is unsecure. This makes it easy for hackers to spy on you in hotel lobbies, coffee shops or airports. The best way to protect yourself from cyber criminals when you are travelling is to use a VPN or your own mobile hotspot

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