How to Stay Safe Online During the Holiday Season
The holiday season is here, and people are making purchases like there is no tomorrow. It is worth noting many people have switched to online shopping to avoid large crowds; after all, the COVID-19 pandemic is not going anywhere any time soon. However, this can be problematic because cybercriminals are upping their game to take advantage of this scenario. For this reason, and plenty of others, internet users, need to secure themselves while shopping online during the holiday season.
If you are looking for ways to secure yourself while shopping online for Christmas or any other event for that matter, then the following tips will be right up your alley.
Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
You may be tempted to use public Wi-Fi networks to shop online for the holidays, especially if you are far from home but cannot return due to the pandemic. As tempting as it may seem, you will need to avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks altogether. These networks could be monitored or controlled by cybercriminals, so there is absolutely no reason why you should risk connecting to such networks.
Of course, if you have no other option, you could connect to such networks, but only if you have a VPN. A VPN will mask your IP, encrypt your internet traffic, and so on. It will essentially enhance your security and anonymity online, making it possible for you to connect to public Wi-Fi networks without putting yourself at significant risk.
Don’t Save Private and Confidential Information in your Browser or on Sites
This tip is quite important this year. Many people save their personal and payment information on different shopping sites, so they do not have to enter the details again later on. Unfortunately, these sites severely lack the necessary security to protect your data. This should explain why you will often hear about retailers falling victim to hacks and breaches.
Use Strong Passwords
People make the terrible mistake of using the same password over and over again. Using the same password for all your accounts is like using the same key for your apartment, car, safe, etc. If anyone gets hold of this key, they will be able to access everything unlocks. Similarly, if someone gets hold of your password, and if it has been used repeatedly, they will get access to all of your accounts.
You may find it convenient to create new accounts during the holiday season and use the same password everywhere to shop effortlessly. You will need to take your security more seriously, and the only way to do so is by using strong passwords.
To create strong passwords, use a combination of numbers and alphabets with special characters. The more complicated your password is, the lesser the chances of it being compromised.
Stay Clear of Phishing Schemes
As absurd as it may seem, phishing schemes are quite useful. Phishing involves sending emails that look as though they were sent from someone else, perhaps a brand you love. Basically, these emails will encourage a user to open a malicious link, usually by offering an exclusive deal or an amazing price. As soon as you click on the link, you are sent to a landing page impersonating the brand you are interested in. Here, your payment or login credentials will be collected by cyber criminals without you knowing about it.
The only real way to avoid phishing schemes is by staying clear of emails that sound too good to be true. If you want to make sure a specific deal or discount is real, contact the brand directly. Better safe than sorry, right?
Don’t Shop from Unfamiliar Retailers
Apart from phishing schemes, you will need to be wary of unfamiliar retailers. Never submit your login or payment information to sites that feel scammy. During the holidays, scammers set up sites to attract people looking for unbelievable deals and discounts. To avoid getting in way over your head, always stick to retailers you can verify. If you can’t verify a retailer, stay clear of them.
The tips mentioned above will get you started on staying safe online during the holiday season. But if you want to take your online security and anonymity to a whole new level, then you should consider getting a reliable holiday VPN, like Ivacy VPN.
Ivacy VPN will not only grant you true internet freedom and access to deals and discounts in other regions, but it will increase your online security and anonymity by leaps and bounds. It will act as an impenetrable barrier between you and cybercriminals, so much so, you will not have to worry about threats online ever again. But then again, this only works if you stay connected to a VPN server through and through.