Cybersecurity, the Holiday Season and the Grinch

This time of year many of us are going to be spending a lot of time doing our Christmas shopping online. This is also the time of year when bad actors will try to be the Grinch and be hard at work seeking to take the joy and pleasure out of our holiday. Here are some tips you might use to keep your spirits high and dissuade hackers:

  1. Don’t do your shopping or banking via free public WiFi hotspots

  2. Use strong passwords that are at least 12 characters and include number and symbols

  3. Make sure the website you are shopping at is secure with a padlock or https in the URL

  4. Avoid using your debit card and use a credit card instead

  5. Use only one dedicated credit card for all your online purchases

  6. Beware of links to online ‘deals’ that are to good to be true…they are

  7. Change the ‘default’ settings for your new technology devices

  8. Be wary of emails that supposedly come from places you made purchases at

  9. Closely monitor your bank statements for fraud

  10. Password protect your smartphone and keep track of it

If you follow these cyber tips your holiday season will not only be a safer one for you, but you can act as the Grinch for hackers.

About the Author: Dr. Jane LeClair is the President of the Washington Center for Cybersecurity Research & Development.

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