With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, it’s a fitting time to remember to focus on using safe online browsing habits and protecting our information when shopping online. According to Adobe, in 2020 Black Friday online shopping surged 22% to a record $9 billion, and it’s only fair to assume we are going to see another big surge this year. 

Along with the increase in online shoppers comes the opportunity to for more online cyber criminals to target and attempt to steal your credit card information, banking credentials, or even your identity. While that is the most extreme case, even the casual online browser and occasional online shopper should practice safe online habits and implement baseline digital security safeguards to protect themselves.  

Here are a few cyber security tips to practice when going online for your online shopping. 

Use HTTPS secured websites 

Only pay online if the website is SSL secured on a HTTPS browser. Remember that the “S” stands for secure in HTTPS. When we talk about being secure, we are specifically talking about when your information such as passwords or credit card information is protected / encrypted when it’s collected by a site.  

Don’t shop on public Wi-Fi 

In addition to shopping on secure browsers, it is important to use a secure internet connection when online shopping. This is because on a public Wi-Fi network, there is an increased risk of hackers getting your information by taking advantage of the weak or public network.  

Use strong passwords 

As with any password, it’s best to avoid using personal information such as birthdays, pet names, maiden names, and so on to create passwords. Additionally, stay away from using phrases and instead break up the phrases with numbers or symbols. An example of this could be changing HOLIDAY to H0L1D4Y.  

Do not share passwords between sites 

The next step to practicing strong passwords practices is to avoid using the same password for multiple sites. Use unique passwords for each site, it’s helpful to use a password manager to keep track of your multiple passcodes.  

Turn on two-factor authentication 

This is a good practice for any of your online accounts, but even more important when an account is storing your personal and/or payment information. 2FA reduces the risk of unauthorized access into your accounts and gives you more control over your account’s security.  

Shop with trusted retailers 

This may go without saying, but be weary of sellers that looked like they popped up with no history. Be confident that retailers that have access to your confidential information are reputable and an authentic businesses.  

Use security software 

Secondary security software that provides encryption, fire walls, and other advanced digital security features are a great asset to add to your own cyber security arsenal. Additionally, when you are running one of these software’s, it’s important to keep your product updated. This goes for your browser and system as well. 

Other Things to keep in mind 

Be wary of inbound emails and clicking links. Sometimes these can come from fraudulent emails being sent from lookalike & mimic domains. It is also a good practice to track your holiday spending and check your online banking receipts after your holiday spending is over. 


References 

[1] Abramovich, G. (n.d.). A record-breaking Cyber Week 2020: Online shopping steals the show. Welcome to the Adobe Blog. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://blog.adobe.com/en/publish/2020/12/01/cyber-week-online-shopping.