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Safe Online Holiday Shopping Tips

Patrick Farmer, Director of Technical Operations, presents “Pastries with Patrick” a new series of discussions with fellow Braden employees to provide education on basic cyber security topics. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, we want to share what we learned about keeping our identity and money safe this holiday season.

Unique Passwords and Smart Management

Use different passwords for each account you have because if one password is breached, your other data will still be secure. Passwords should contain a mix of characters: upper case, lower case, symbols and numbers.

Don’t want to forget all these passwords? Use a secure password management system like LastPass or BITWarden. For instance, passwords saved in an excel file can be found by hackers and other malicious users. Likewise, do not share your passwords.

Avoid Public Wifi for Some Browsing

Online shopping and bank transactions should only be done on a secure wifi network. The local coffee shop is not a safe place to pay bills or buy gifts because anyone with hacking skills and within range of public can wifi can access everything that is being shared.

Shop Securely

Only shop from sites you know and those that have the “https://” in the url. Online shopping is best done with a credit card, not a debit card; the fraud protection is better.

Be Aware of Social Engineering

Calls and emails requesting sensitive information are likely to be a scam. For phone calls, if you are unsure, the best policy is to call back using a corporate number and see if the request was honest. For example, if your cell phone company calls and needs your social security number, tell them you would like to ensure the information is secure and will call them back.

As for emails, verify email addresses and language/text patterns if you think something is off with an email. Any requests for sensitive information or money should be treated with caution. Do not open attachments or follow links from unknown sources.

Check Current Information Breaches

Use a site called haveibeenpwned.com, to see if your information has been part of any breaches. If so, simply change the passwords on those accounts.

 

You can now safely enjoy your online holiday shopping in your pajamas!

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