Suite 27, Liberty House, The Enterprise Centre, Greenham Business Park

‘Tis the season to be cyber safe

12 Dec

By: Shannon Elliott

News, info & events

With Black Friday a recent memory and Christmas just around the corner, this is no doubt a busy time of year for online shopping. Whether your employees are working from home, or sneaking in some daytime shopping in the office, they will be using the internet and accessing many online payment portals which make your business vulnerable. Christmas is a hot spot for cyber criminals so it’s important to know what to look out for and how to shop securely this festive season.

Here are a few things to look out for:

Watch out for fake websites

Cyber criminals are able to create spoof websites that look exactly like the retailer’s, usually with one letter different in the URL. These websites will offer fantastic deals and then deliver faulty goods, if any at all. Make sure to check the URL.

Make sure the site is secure

Look for “HTTPS”- the ‘s’ means secure, and look for a padlock on the left hand side of the browser.

Beware of Phishing emails

Similar to fake websites, phishing emails are created to look like legitimate emails from the official retailer. In this instance it is also likely that the email address will have a letter missing, or different, or might not even have anything to do with the retailer. Check the email address to make sure it’s coming from a legitimate source.

Don’t click on any links that you aren’t sure of. The link should be clear and you should be able to see where it goes, if not you can hover over it and the link will come up. Check the link for anything that looks out of the ordinary and don’t click on anything you aren’t comfortable with.

Phishing emails typically try and trick users to handing over personal information. They appear to come from a reliable retailer (for example,  a retailer you frequently buy from or your bank) and ask you to confirm personal information or payment details. Never give out your personal details via email or over the phone – immediately call your bank (or the retailer the email appears to be from) and check. Make sure you go to their official website to get the phone number, and not the email.

Avoid shopping on public wifi

Hotspots offered by local coffee shops, libraries, bars and public transport may be incredibly convenient but they leave your device extremely vulnerable. A cyber criminal can hack into the public network and access your user details. If you’re shopping or banking online use your own personal hotspot, or wait until you get home!

Act fast!

If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, notify your bank immediately. The sooner you do this the better, as they might be able to stop the payment. If you were at work, or using a work device, make sure you notify your employer.