Cyber safety first for last-minute holiday shopping

Content courtesy of the National Cyber Security Alliance

Have some last-minute gifts to tick off your list but prefer to make purchases online instead of in the aisle? As the the window for online purchase delivery dwindles, give yourself the gift of cyber safety.

According to the National Retail Federation, 73 percent of consumers plan to use their smartphone or tablet to research or make a purchase this holiday season. Don’t let cyber grinches turn merriment into mayhem. Following some simple cybersecurity tips and practices before and while you shop online will help ensure peace of mind during the holidays and year-round.

Here are a few take-action tips for a cyber-safe season.

Keep a clean machine. Before picking out that perfect present, be sure that all internet-connected devices ‒ including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ are free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.

Use a secure Wi-Fi. Using public Wi-Fi to shop online while at your favorite coffee shop is tremendously convenient, but it is not cyber safe. Don’t make purchases via public Wi-Fi; instead use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or your phone as a hotspot.

Lock Down Your Login. Create long and unique passphrases for all accounts and use multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. MFA will fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics or a unique one-time code sent to your phone or mobile device

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) builds strong public/private partnerships to create and implement broad-reaching education and awareness efforts to empower users at home, work and school with the information they need to keep themselves, their organizations, their systems and their sensitive information safe and secure online and encourage a culture of cybersecurity.