Cyber safety for the holiday season

If you’ve been a store in the past couple of weeks, you know the Christmas shopping season is here. As busy as things are out there in the stores, thousands will take care of their Christmas shopping without ever leaving home. They’ll make their purchases online.

Just as there are steps to protect yourself when out shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, there are also steps you should take to protect yourself when buying items online.

Tech-savvy criminals are anonymous and can do great harm. The sheer size of the internet and number of users makes it impossible for one agency to monitor and prevent every scam and criminal on the web. the responsibility falls on individuals to protect themselves up front on the purchase end of a transaction.

Keep your computer systems up to date – Cyber criminals will use software flaws to attack computer systems. By updating software programs regularly, you can stay ahead of the criminals who exploit flaws in older systems.

Choose a strong password and protect it – A strong password is at least eight characters and contains both numbers and letters. Using the same username and password for multiple sites puts you at higher risk of having your password hacked. Change your password every 90 days to limit the window of opportunity for criminals to gain access.

Protect your personal info – Most online sites now require us to share personal information such as name, address, phone number, and email address. When in doubt about supplying this information, either don’t do it or call the organization to verify authenticity.