As the days approach everyone’s favorite time of year, online traffic increases. More people are relying on the internet to finish last minute holiday shopping or just to avoid massive crowds and long lines altogether. But did you know this time of year is when cyber hackers are more of a threat? Here are 5 ways to avoid cyber threats and keep your network safe.
- Avoid using public wi-fi networks. Every now and then we get excited when we see “free wi-fi” posted in store fronts and restaurants. Although convenient, public wi-fi can be the gateway that allows access to private information that may be stored on your personal device. If you are connected to a public wi-fi, refrain from checking important emails, online bank statements, and online purchases.
- Visit legitimate websites. Cyber hackers have created websites that look like familiar online stores. Beware of sites that have misspelled words, or look identical to other well known online websites. Many times if you do order from websites that are illegitimate, you will receive fake or stolen products, or nothing at all.
- Look for https://. Http is an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, and the “s’ stands for secure. This means that all the data being shared between the website you are visiting and your browser is encrypted and secure. So if you are making an online purchase this ensures that hackers will not be able to hack into your private information.
- Delete emails that are questionable. Have you ever seen an email with a subject line stating that an order has been shipped when you know you haven’t purchased anything online? Many times hackers will create emails with alerting subjects regarding a purchase, your bank account, or other important private accounts. These emails are called phishing and if these emails are opened or the link in them is clicked, you may be giving the hacker the ability to retrieve private information. The best way to know if you are being fished is looking for misspelled words, strange web links like www.Gogle.com or www. Amazone.com. If you notice emails like this delete or mark as phishing right away.
- Keep out of reach of children. If you have kids you probably know that children are very curious and usually don’t know the do’s and don’t’s of the internet. If possible have your children use a different device when they want to use the internet. If you have to share the same device its best that they have a separate user account. In either case, place admin restrictions that will not allow children to visit websites that you think are unsafe.