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Stay Cyber Safe When Shopping Online

As the holiday season kicks off with Black Friday and Cyber Monday this week, shoppers everywhere are more and more frequently opting to use their credit cards from the comfort of their homes, taking advantage of online deals. But as you shop, you should remember to stay safe online with these helpful cybersecurity tips!

ITP Cybersecurity

Careful with Clicks

We all receive more email promotions than usual around this time of year. Remember what Professor Moody always said, you must maintain constant vigilance before clicking the links in these promotions! Make sure you look for typos in emails or website links, which may indicate a phishing scam or fake links. Some potential digital security problems to look for include:

  • Extra added letters in a domain, like
  • ‘rn’ disguised as 'm’ such as in
  • 1’s disguised as l’s, as in
  • Added affixes such as

Additionally, there are tons of fake shopping apps out there. Be careful what you download, and if you want to download a shopping app from your favorite store, it's best to go directly to the store’s website to be sure it’s legitimate.

Only Shop if There’s a Lock

Cybersecurity is also important when shopping online. We recommend only shopping from secure websites. To be certain it is secure, check out the little lock in the URL bar. Websites that use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encrypt data during transmission, making it safe to use a credit card on that site. Again, look for that little lock in the address bar and a URL with “https” instead of “http” at the beginning. That little S is quite important.

Don’t Shop on Public Hotspots

Just avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi networks, like in airports or coffee shops. While this may seem like the perfect time to knock out that shopping list, open hotspots are extremely dangerous.

Hackers have been known to intercept communications between you and the connection point so that instead of talking directly with the hotspot, you end up sending your information to the hacker. In this case, the hacker has access to all the information you send out—emails, phone numbers, credit card information... And once a hacker has that information, you’ve basically given them the keys to your front door. Be sure to keep software up to date on any device you connect to the internet, to help reduce the risk of infection from malware. The cybersecurity risks are ever present.

Wherever you do find yourself, it’s important to use a VPN (virtual private network) service which creates a private tunnel from your device to your service. VPN servers will encrypt your traffic passing through the public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Use Strong and Unique Passwords

Consider finishing out the year strong by using a password manager to assist in dealing with the ever-increasing volume of complex and unique passwords you have for all your accounts. There's no easier way to get to your data than a user only ever having one password. To improve your digital security, never use a work email or any variation of your work password on any third-party websites outside of work. Additionally, you will want to have difficult, individual passwords for your banking services.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We wish everyone happy and safe shopping this busy holiday week! Oh, and if you want to read more cybersecurity tips, check out our other recent blogs:

You can also visit our Security page for more insights.

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