Payments System HackingUsing the internet is an everyday part of your business life, but if you’re like a lot of people, you still have some shopping to do this holiday season.   Whether you’re investing in new business equipment or purchasing gifts for loved ones, while you’re surfing the online stores cyber criminals will be out in full force, looking to take advantage of those who are eager to score a deal.

During the past four years, online attacks have jumped by nine percent during the busy shopping season. Since you’re at increased risk of cyber theft and scams right now, remember to follow these six steps to keep your data (and money) safe.

Don’t click on suspicious links. Whether by email, Skype message, or some other forum, links have been used to misdirect unsuspecting people to websites that contain malware. Once downloaded onto your computer, the malware could gather personal information.

Double-check web addresses. Make sure that you’re on a retailer’s actual website. Criminals often create copycat websites that look quite realistic, hoping you will hand over your credit card number as you complete your “order”.

Check for website security. While you’re checking that URL, look for “https” at the start of the address, or a lock symbol in your address bar. These indicate that the website is secure.

Never give out more information than is really needed. If you’re shopping on a website that asks for information such as your Social Security number or birthday, this is a bad sign. It’s probably not a real website, and it’s being used to collect personal data on those who land on it.

Don’t shop from a public wifi connection. If you’re using your phone, switch over to a data signal, or shop from your home or office network only. When you use a public wifi connection, any information you send (such as debit card numbers) could be viewed by anyone else using the network.

Use secure passwords. If you maintain accounts with online retailers, make sure to use complex passwords that are difficult to guess. You might also consider changing them every few months.

As always, make sure your network is safe before transmitting any vital information across it. Give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH, and we can help assess and secure your network.