November is when many Americans are excited about an extra hour of sleep due to daylight savings, and look forward to the holidays and all the shopping! We have Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which from a shopping standpoint is great, but we need to be cautious from a cybersecurity standpoint. Many shoppers don’t realize how dangerous these holidays can be. They draw the attention of cyber criminals, so if you plan to partake in today’s Cyber Monday shopping, please be aware of your cybersecurity as you shop on your computer and on your phone.
You think, “What could spoil your Thanksgiving vacation?” Hackers. Cyber criminals are licking their lips at breaching companies during this ravenous shopping spree and are excited to see what they can gain from users. The user is always the weakest link in the world of cybersecurity.
In addition to shoppers, employers can also be effected. The Thanksgiving break is a time for employees to get out of the office and enjoy family, food, and football. They also often neglect their emails. But the employees who are checking their email and other business-related tasks can be hurting their employer if they’re not careful.
So, what are some ways to keep you and your company safe while shopping and checking emails?
The first way is to make sure all your devices have passcodes. If you are walking around without a passcode on an iPhoneX in 2017, you may be in for a rude awakening. You could forget your phone on a table at a coffee shop, and by the time you come back your phone is swiped and wiped, or even worse, confidential documents in your shared drive are now available to whoever was bold enough to take your phone.
The second way is to be aware of “shoulder surfing.” Have you ever taken a peak at a stranger’s phone while sitting on the subway or waiting in line for coffee and saw something you probably shouldn’t have? If so, then you are a Social Engineer. This is the easiest and most effective method cyber criminals use to obtain confidential data. Be aware of what you are using your phone for, as well as who you are around while entering your passcodes and credit card information.
The final security awareness tip is to steer clear of “Free WiFi,” especially with a device that holds your company’s information. “Free WiFi” is like seeing “Free Candy.” Is a free candy bar great? Sure, but is it safe? That should be a question that is asked in cyber space, too. Though free WiFi sounds great, is it worth a potential breach? Put the device down until you get home, and enjoy some face time with friends and family instead!