10 Important Cybersecurity Factors To Consider Before Cyber Monday

Every November, it becomes more difficult to avoid the enticing deals that pop up around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some of them we buy into — and some of them turn out to be scams.

With an influx of scams around this time of year, it pays to be prepared and protected. Cybersecurity might not be your top priority in other seasons of the year, but around the holidays, hypervigilance and awareness will help you avoid stress.

To have a relaxing and fulfilling holiday season, you’re going to want to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting yourself online, and we have the information you need to do just that.

10 Important Cybersecurity Factors Consider Cyber Monday


What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity refers to protecting your devices, networks, and data from potential threats to ensure your information’s confidentiality. A breach in your cybersecurity could put you at risk in a variety of ways.

For example, you could have your bank account information stolen, have passwords changed on you, or have hackers gain access to secure information like your social security number.

Threats against an individual’s cyber security have become more prominent throughout the years, as more consumers transfer their everyday lives to the online sphere,” says Andrew Meyer, CEO of Arbor.

With so much of our lives being online and our information being stored on different servers and networks, maintaining protection is essential to exist in this period.

How To Protect Yourself On Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday can be a playground for hackers and scammers. There is an influx of deals going on, and people have the intention of shopping, so scams may not be as obvious to consumers.

Shoppers are more susceptible to scams because they’re anticipating seeing lower prices across online stores,” explains Amanda Howland, Co-Founder of ElleVet Sciences.

Being vigilant and trying to weed out scams is not the only way to keep yourself protected. Cybersecurity tools can be used to protect your computer and phone from viruses.

There are many tips and tricks out there to help practice safe Cyber Monday shopping, so keep reading to learn more.

1. Steer Clear Of Fake Websites

When reading up on 2024 cybersecurity forecasts and other reliable cybersecurity resources, the first thing you will learn is vigilance. Steering clear of fake websites and suspicious links is crucial to keeping your data safe and secure.

Some scammers and hackers use copycat websites to trick people into purchasing through their links. You may think you’re purchasing something from a well-known brand’s website after a targeted ad pops up on your screen, but that’s not always the case.

The easiest way to tell if you’re on a fake website is to check the website for misspellings in the link, pixelated images, and functions that aren’t working properly,” Kirkland Gee, Co-Founder of Perfect Extraction states. “It never hurts to double-check the site before going through with a purchase.

Simply typing in the name of the company into a search bar can help to see if you’ve visited the site before and point you in the right direction.

2. Create Unique Passwords

Having multiple passwords can become overwhelming, and password books aren’t as popular as they once were. However, when creating accounts to purchase items online during the holiday season, it’s essential that each password is unique to the site.

If you use a password for a new site that you also use for your bank account, email, or medical portals, you are putting all of those accounts at risk.

More companies are moving to new, stronger technologies to authenticate user identities, like biometrics because it’s just too easy for hackers to figure out usernames and passwords, like ‘password,’” explained former President Barack Obama.

The more complicated and unique password you use, the better off you’ll be on Cyber Monday.

3. Be Aware Of Phishing Emails

People are often unaware of how many marketing emails they actually sign up for until their inbox is flooded. Trying to navigate which emails are scams and which are not can be difficult, even to the most keen eye.

You may get an email that has tracking information for an unspecified item or coupons for Cyber Monday before it’s even happened. Don’t click on every link that is sent to you, even if it seems like it’s coming from a reputable brand!

By simply hovering over a link before clicking on it, you can verify if it’s truly taking you to the website that you think it is,” suggests Lioran Pinchevski, Founder and CEO of Finaloop, a company that specializes in ecommerce accounting software. “If the link seems off, just delete the email immediately – you’ll find a sale elsewhere!

The way that phishing emails are set up can be rather convincing, and it’s never a bad idea to be extra cautious during the holiday season.

4. Avoid Social Media Scams

Social media has become one of the easiest places to be scammed. There are millions of products available — with too many fake businesses to sift through.

While some Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook ads and companies are legitimate, there are many that repurpose content from other businesses with no intention of sending you a product.

Ads showcasing new products can easily attract consumers, but many times, those products never arrive at your door — and your card information may have been compromised,” says Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting For You New York. “Checking reviews and trying to validate if an online company is real can help to curb this kind of scam.

People who have been scammed before may leave reviews that you can find detailing their experience, which can be helpful to other consumers trying to avoid the same fate. If the company seems new and there aren’t many reviews, this is also a sign to steer clear.

5. Use Credit Cards When Shopping

When shopping for gifts and great deals, it’s best to put everything you buy onto a credit card. Not only is using a debit card putting your bank account at a higher risk of being hacked, but there aren’t always great protections if you’re scammed on your debit card.

Credit card companies tend to have better protections against fraud, so if you do get scammed, you’re more likely to get your money back,” Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce shares. “Avoid using debit when online shopping so you can protect your bank account!

If you need to dispute a purchase or feel that you’ve been scammed, calling up your credit card company will be a lot easier than dealing with your bank and having to close out accounts.

6. Shop Only On Secure Sites

Shopping only on secure sites is an easy way to ensure that the website that you’re on has not been corrupted. Unlike fake websites that duplicate other websites, sites that have been compromised due to unsecured networks and other malware.

Some websites will tell you as soon as you open up a page that it is functioning on an unsecured network, but others you may need to look a little closer,” explains George Fraguio, Vice President of Bridge Lending at Vaster Capital.

If the URL link has “https://” at the beginning of it, with a small padlock symbol to the left of it, it’s likely that the page is secure. When the “https://” is wrong or the padlock symbol is unlocked, it’s warning you that the site may have been compromised by criminal third parties and your computer’s data could be intercepted.

7. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi While Shopping

Sometimes we see an ad or remember that we wanted to purchase something while out and about, but this isn’t always the safest time to be buying online. When using public Wi-Fi, there is no authentication needed to establish a network connection.

This gives scammers the ability to access unsecured networks that your phone or computer is using.

Even if you see something that you just absolutely need, wait until you get home.” says Maggie Brown, Founder and CEO of Recess Pickleball. “Once you’re on a secured network, you’re going to be able to shop safely and keep yourself protected.

Public Wi-Fi is typically unsecured, and it’s likely that your phone will immediately notify you if you connect to one of these unsecured networks. Take this warning seriously!

8. Install Ad Blockers

When prepping for Cyber Monday, consider installing ad blockers to your devices so that they won’t be as prevalent while searching for products. We all know just how common it is to see ads pop up on our social media pages, but clicking them isn’t always a good idea.

Sometimes, trying to exit out of the ads can lead you to an unsecured website.

“Scammers know that ads are the easiest way in. Especially as ads become more and more targeted, it can be hard to not click when you see the product that you’ve been thinking about for weeks,” remarks Agatha Relota Luczo, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Furtuna Skin.

From our earliest days on the internet, we’ve been warned to stay away from ads that we see. During shopping seasons, this is even more important to remember as these ads give scammers a way into your personal information.

9. Keep Your Security Software Updated

For the best results this Cyber Monday, be sure to have your security software updated and ready to go. This is the most concrete way to keep scammers and hackers out of your private information.

“By installing anti-virus software to your devices, you keep yourself, your information, and your future safe. This software will detect any threats that might come your way this holiday season before they can get into your devices,” Jim Mitchell, Chief Growth Officer of Awesome CX by Transcom, says about the importance of security software.

Before the weekend comes, make sure that everything is updated so that you don’t have to think twice as you scroll through all of the deals.

10. Monitor Your Bank Accounts

Monitoring your bank accounts throughout the holiday season will keep you on top of your spending and finances while being able to flag if there is any strange activity. If one of your cards was compromised, there could be unexplained purchases or withdrawals in your bank statements.

The threat of cyber security may very well be the biggest threat to the U.S. financial system,” wrote Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan, in 2019.

By keeping an eye on your own bank statements, you can help prevent further damage and flag anything you see before it’s too late. Banks will work with you to ensure that your information and money are safe, but they have to be aware of it.

In many cases, your bank will even reach out to you if they suspect there is something going on.

Cybersecurity Matters

Cyber Monday is meant to be fun, filled with great deals, and an efficient way to shop before the holidays. Many companies utilize the internet to spread the word about their sales. However, not everything on the internet is the truth, so we must be vigilant when shopping.

With just the click of a button, a person can go from having the best holiday to the worst holiday.

Keep in mind the factors above when shopping online so that you can get what you need without being scammed. As long as you take these precautions, you should prepare to be the person giving out the best gifts this year!

10 Important Cybersecurity Factors Consider Cyber Monday


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