We may have been stuck during this holiday season due to covid-19. Thanks to smaller crowds and fewer commitments, the holiday may even seem a little less stressful this year. But most of us will still want to buy Christmas presents for friends and family, increase our online interaction and move personal shopping experiences to the virtual world. Do not let these stress-free clicks on your favorite shopping sites lead to disaster. It’s time to freshen up how you can keep your data safe and your vacation enjoyable and bright.
But first a little background on why you should protect yourself. According to Carbon Black’s online threat report 2019, global retail organizations have met a 20% increase in attempts at cyberattacks, a continuing trend that the company has been following since 2016.
The attackers are becoming more sophisticated every year. According to the survey, 73% of retail organizations said they have seen an increase in sophisticated cyberattacks in the past year, and small businesses are increasingly becoming targets for cybercriminals.
What does this mean for you? This means that every year there is a greater chance that your data and your identity will be compromised. Below are some helpful tips on what you can do to prevent this from happening.
According to a legal website, here are what you should do:
- Lock your devices. Lock your laptop and mobile devices with fingerprint / face ID or PIN. This is your first line of defense if your device is lost or stolen.
- Physically secure your devices. Never leave your device unattended. Do not put units in checked baggage or leave them in hotel rooms. If you use your laptop in a public space, consider using a privacy screen and a lock cable.
- Use your own AC adapters and cords. Public USB ports can contain malicious software that an attacker could use to gain access to your devices. This may include USB ports at airports and hotel lights.
- Report lost and stolen devices. Immediately notify your company’s security manager or IT department if your company-issued device is lost or stolen.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi and disable automatic connection. Free Wi-Fi is vulnerable to cyber attacks. Turn off all auto-connect features on your devices to avoid inadvertently connecting to public Wi-Fi. Also turn off Bluetooth as attackers can use this to gain access to your device.
- Change your passwords. Change the password you use regularly before you travel. Then change them again when you get home. Avoid using the same password on multiple websites. Use multifactor authentication whenever possible.
- Make sure your operating systems and security systems are up to date. This includes systems on your laptop and mobile devices (including apps). Using the latest antivirus software is an effective way to protect your data. For company-released devices, use only programs approved by your company.
- Encrypt. Encrypt sensitive information on mobile devices. Laptops should have full disk encryption.
- Back up your data. Before you travel, make sure your personal information is backed up and secure. Check your company’s data backup policy for information related to your company-released devices.
- Follow policies and procedures. Whenever you travel, make sure you stay compliant with your company’s security policies and procedures to protect your company-released device and data.
Another good tip is to make sure you have identity fraud protection services. Powered by Cyberscout, Pekin Insurance offers coverage to its policyholders. Read more here.
Do not let invisible thieves sneak away with your holiday feeling. Strike back by being proactive in protecting your data and your identity.