as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One! ~ Charles Dickens
Wow! If time truly flies when you are having fun, then this year has been way more fun than normal.
As 2016 comes to a close, many of us are turning our attention to Christmas shopping, and whether you like it or loathe it, huge amounts of that shopping will happen “on-line”. Because there will be such a large surge in on-line shopping, the criminals will be working overtime, attempting to lure you into bogus sites where you will give up your credit card information and possibly come home with a virus in return.
Here are some tips to keep you safe:
1. Pay attention to the sites web address. Whether you are on a smart phone, a tablet, or a full sized computer, the web address will be displayed at the top. If you are spending money, the web address should start with https. The “S” stands for “SECURE”. If you don’t see an “S”, don’t shop. Here’s a little ditty to help you remember: No “S”, No “SHOP”, has an “S”, Good to Shop.
2. Beware of Email Deals. Undoubtedly, you are already receiving email offers throughout the year. With Christmas approaching, those offers are going to intensify. Be especially suspicious of offers coming from companies you don’t normally get emails from. Be leery of emails concerning package delivery. Delete emails claiming you are late with payments (unless of course they come from me, then please pay promptly!)
3. Don’t shop on public WiFi. Public means just that-anybody can see what you are doing. Avast, a popular antivirus company, thought it would be “fun” to set up some hacked WiFi networks around the Republican convention this past summer. Over 1200 unsuspecting users connected and over 68% of connected users identities were exposed. You can read all of the details here: https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2016/07/22/wi-fi-hack-experiment-republican-national-convention/.
4. Use a password manager. I’m guilty here. I have a favorite password with about 6 variations, and I use them everywhere. I’ve recently started adding complexity to the those passwords, but let’s face it: Remembering multiple passwords is a lot of work and my aging brain doesn’t want to work that hard anymore. LastPass to the rescue! There are lots of free and low cost password managers out there. I’m experimenting with LastPass, found here: https://www.lastpass.com/. (Notice the httpS?) I won’t say I’m in love, but then my relationship with LastPass is still in the “Get Acquainted” stage. If my aging brain remembers, I will update you next month with how my LastPass relationship is progressing.
More tips and links to other password managers can be found here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/dont-let-yourself-be-targeted-by-cybercriminals-here-are-6-tips-for-safe-holiday-shopping/?ftag=TRE684d531&bhid=1865980
Until next month, Stay safe and have a Very Merry Christmas!
Wishing You Good Things for Christmas