While the country is gunning for life-changing consumer deals this coming Black Friday, many people are leaving very little to no preparation for the consecutive Cyber Monday, which is set to focus on the online shops and deals.
If you're not one to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to stand in line for Black Friday, then you're most likely to catch the sales online, but don't think that you'll be safer in the comfort of your home. No queues, no hanger tug of wars and no storming of rails and shelves, right?
With the prevalence of cyber crimes and online scams, it's important for you to make sure that you're safe from cyber theft during the sale hype.
Check for breaches
According to Bizcommunity.africa, it is relatively easy for hackers to get a hold of your personal information online once your information is in the hands of any 'trusted' organisation, including banks, social sites and online retailers. "Make sure you are regularly using a breach checker to monitor recent breaches and investigate if you have been compromised," the article suggests.
"Set up alerts that notify you when there is a breach when your information is compromised and if there is potentially suspicious activity on your accounts or profiles. You can also sign up to a site like Have I Been Pwned, to get notified about any breaches that have happened and if your information is found in a breach."
Avoid public wi-fi
This may be a tough one for many, but open, public wi-fi areas are a gold mine for hackers because your information is not as secure as you'd like it to be. "Wi-Fi networks use public airwaves," BusinessWire.com reports. "Hackers can easily intercept what you’re looking at on the web and steal valuable information, such as your name, password and credit card information. It’s best not to shop online or log in to any website while you’re connected to public wi-fi."
Bump up the security
It's not enough to have strong passwords for the websites you use. You also need to update your anti-virus software and ensure that it is strong enough for your device. Additionally, you're advised to use two-factor authentication, which allows you to verify logins and transactions usually on another device of before they are approved.
"Enable two-factor authentication on every service and consider not signing up for those that hold sensitive data, but do not support two-factor authentication", reports Scott Matteson in an article for TechRepublic.com.
Educate yourself about the most common online scams
Scams happen due to a lack of knowledge of what a cyber crime looks and sounds like. If you educate yourself about dodgy sites and scam methods, you're less likely to get caught in one. "Phishing attempts to gather sensitive information from individuals and malware attempts to infiltrate your system by downloading some form of malicious software," reports Bizcommunity.
Scams aren't always obvious and plainly sketchy, and not all of them require you to willingly click on a link to provide access to your information, so it's important that you know how scams generally work so that you can protect yourself against falling victim to one.
Only shop from trustworthy sites
It doesn't matter how great the retail deal is, if the site seems dodgy or unfamiliar, stay away from it. Being hacked can be as easy as clicking on the wrong pop-up link, so it's best to avoid sites that you're not familiar with and that seem shady to you. A way to check if the site is worth browsing through is, according to this article, to "look for customer reviews, make sure apps have been downloaded thousands of times (this proves credibility), and verify the company’s log".
At the end of the end, if it doesn't feel right, don't do it - rather safe than sorry.
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