As many of you are aware, the Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend has come to be known as “Cyber Monday.” Hilltop has prepared this quick blog not to tell you what sites to get the best deals, but to warn you of some of the potential dangers of Cyber Monday predators.
Beware of emails that promise great or “Amazing” deals
Cyber criminals prey on people who are looking for an “amazing” deal. If you receive any emails from stores promising to-good-to-be-true type deals, before you “click,” please ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this email from an actual real and reputable online store?
- When you hover over the link in the email, is the link pointing to the current stores website domain?
If you have any doubt over the legitimacy of an email, DO NOT open the email or click on any of its viewable contents. Instead, please contact your IT help desk.
What could happen if you did click on a link that was not legitimate?
- You could expose your computer and network to a version of Cryptolocker, where a virus will encrypt every file on your machine and then ask you to pay a ransom to regain access to your files.
- When buying an item with your credit card, you could be handing over your credit card to a criminal.
Never use your credit card over an internet connection that is not secure.
Let’s say you are in a café or airport terminal and you connect to Wi-Fi to make a quick purchase. Did the connection require a password? Is the connection encrypted? We always recommend that when you are making purchases, to make sure you are connected to a secure encrypted network. Criminals know that people will connect to the Internet if it is easy (and free) for them to do so. The criminals can create a hot-spot that you think is the café or airport terminal.
Once you connect you will have Internet access and the ability to complete your purchases, while also exposing your credit card details to the criminals.
Remember your company’s policy on internet usage at work
Many companies frown on Internet use for personal reasons. Not only does this slow down the speed of your company’s Internet, it could expose your entire network to potential viruses and other risks. Make sure that you refer to your company’s internet usage policy before spending time making personal purchases on the internet.
So, while there are plenty of great deals to take advantage of on Cyber Monday, please make sure that you are practicing safe shopping!