How to Stay Safe Online on Black Friday

When the Black Friday craze engulfs the planet, people often throw caution aside for a good deal, opening a door for all sorts of cybercriminals. But staying safe online is not difficult if you follow a few simple rules.

Six times more spam emails are sent than legitimate
emails each day, and about 75% of them land in people’s inboxes. Around one in 10
spam emails is malicious, so it’s easy to see just how dangerous the online
landscape really is.

The Black Friday event adds even more problems as the
amount of spam increases, and people are more likely to open emails and links
they shouldn’t. Suddenly, social networks and emails are flooded with amazing
sales that seem to be too good to be true, which is usually the case.

Ideally, installing a software protection solution on mobile devices and PCs is recommended, but not everybody has one. To reduce the risk of falling for a phishing attempt or getting your credit card stolen, see the following advice:

Stick to known
websites
. The best deals sometimes come from shops you’ve never heard of,
and that’s for a good reason. For example, the company behind the website might
not exist, and all the details you provide are now in the hands of a third party
who might try to access your online accounts.

Use only websites with HTTPS in their address. Shopping online usually involves sharing
sensitive information with the websites, and data sent over HTTP is not
encrypted. An attacker can steal your data if the online store is not secure.

Be very careful of links
in emails and social networks
. Phishing is the most common way to obtain personal
information from people, and criminals use websites that look a lot like the
one you’re looking for.

Stay connected to
secure networks
. Unprotected Wi-Fi connections are a treasure trove for
attackers who want to intercept traffic. Even if you’re shopping on a secure
website, you’re still sending a lot of data through an unknown Wi-Fi network.
If you really need to use such as connection, at least employ a VPN.

Use two-factor
authentication
for accounts and financial transactions. Multi-factor
authentication (MFA) and two-factor authentication (2FA) are great ways to
secure an account. Even if someone has your credentials for a service, they
would also need access to your phone or emails. Protecting financial
transactions with MFA is just as important.

Robust passwords
are always a good idea. Even if you’re tired of this advice, you should
consider complex passwords, especially for online stores. And please, don’t use
the same password on multiple websites.

Set up alerts on
your credit cards
. If you don’t already have this service, consider getting
it. Most banks offer this feature, sometimes for free. When a stolen credit
card is used, people get immediate notifications, which makes it much easier to
stop thieves in their tracks.

Keep an eye out
for phishing
. Companies and organizations never ask for personal details or
financial data over the Internet. An online service that claims to need this
type of information is most likely a phishing scam.

Black Friday should be an enjoyable experience, and you
can keep it that way if you respect these simple rules. And remember, if a deal
is too good to be true, it probably is.

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