5 Cyber Security Tips for the Holiday Shopping Season

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Spring is here. Which means that for some of us, it’s holiday time. Shopping during the holidays is great as you have a lot of time to spare.

And shopping online is great. However, let’s not forget that the Internet poses a lot of threats.

I’ll guide you through some simple steps which you must take to stay safe while shopping and on top of that, maybe even mention how to remove adware which is a problem for many.

Summary

All in all, here are the 5 tips that we’ll be looking at:

  1. Use a Security Configuration
  2. Use a VPN
  3. Stay Away from Suspicious websites
  4. Keep your Computer Updated
  5. Only Rely on Trusted Websites and Sellers

Use a Security Configuration

This is the absolutely most basic step. Apart from staying safe online, you can use a security configuration to remove redirect virus, adware, etc.

Every computer must have a proper security configuration installed, regardless of how experienced the owner is.

Yes! Given that you’re experienced enough, it’s absolutely possible to stay safe online without using any security whatsoever.

But, why take a chance? If it’s because of money, then there are free programs available. They are often not as effective as their paid counterparts, but still better than nothing.

If you’re afraid of having performance issues, just look for lightweight software. It’s really that easy.

Why Use Security Programs While Shopping?

So, using a security configuration is basic. We get that. However, what do security programs have to do with shopping? Aren’t they supposed to protect us from viruses?

Well, first of all, you can get infected with malware while trying to shop online from shady websites.

Other than that, certain Antivirus programs offer a feature which looks for known fake shopping websites, scammers, etc, and they notify you in case that you come upon them.

That, on its own, can be a lifesaver if you’re shopping online while not being too familiar with online shops.

Which Security Programs Shall I Use?

The ideal configuration is having one Antivirus and one Anti-Malware. The two of them detect different kinds of threats which is why using both of them offers a higher level of security.

One thing that you want to avoid is using two security programs of the same kind. Like two Antivirus programs or two Anti-Malware ones. Something like that would likely lead to performance drops and interference.

As for which ones to use, there are countless options to choose from. But, in overall MalwareFox is a good Anti-Malware option as it’s relatively cheap, lightweight, and effective.

It’s generally recommended to combine it with Kaspersky Internet Security as it’s an Antivirus which offers shopping protection. Again, for a relatively low price.

Use a VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s a very effective way of securing your privacy as it encrypts both incoming and outgoing data. Additionally, it also hides your IP address.

And now I hear you asking, “How is that useful for online shopping protection?”. A VPN can be useful in shopping security mostly on these two occasions:

  1. Personal Data Theft
  2. Cyber Criminals Lurking in Open Networks

Personal Data Theft

Did you know that most shopping websites collect a bunch of data from us? Things like the websites that we visit, items that we’ve bought from online shops, and stuff like that.

Some of you might not like this, but, do keep in mind that as long as you’re dealing with legitimate shopping websites, that data is safe and non-user identifiable.

The thing is that shady websites can collect this information and sell it to 3rd parties for money with it being user identifiable as your IP is visible.

A VPN will not prevent that shady guy from selling your data, but it will at the very least hide your identity. It’s something.

Cyber Criminals Lurking in Open Networks

Every time that you connect on a public unsecured network, everyone who knows how to do it can steal most of your personal information and data. Imagine if someone steals your banking information while you’re shopping. This could lead to a disaster.

But, as mentioned before, a VPN encrypts all incoming and outgoing data. Which means that no one will be able to spy on you and steal your personal data, even if you are connected to a public network.

Which VPN Should I Use?

Any trustworthy VPN provider will do. Express VPN and Tunnel Bear are two great options to start with.

That’s all there is to it. Choosing a VPN is not as complicated as choosing a security configuration. All you need is a trustworthy provider and you’re good to go.

Stay Away from Suspicious websites

Having a security configuration and using a VPN is nice and everything, but you shouldn’t solely rely on them for your protection.

You need to rely on your common sense and intuition too so that you’ll be able to detect scams, fake websites, and everything like that.

For an example, if you see an item that is several times cheaper than it should be, then it might be better to stay away from it and not buy it.

If you see an email coming out of nowhere and offering discounts for no reason, don’t trust it. You know what I mean.

Keep your Computer Updated

Yet another basic security precaution. The last thing you want is visiting a shady website which hosts a zero-day exploit and getting infected by it because your PC wasn’t updated.

One precautionary measure with Windows 10 is that you won’t have to worry too much about security updates as they automatically get installed when you’re not using your computer. (At least protected against known threats)

On your part, the most that you’ll usually have to do is to perform a restart every now and then.

If you’re using an older version of Windows, then you should consider upgrading to Windows 10 as the older versions won’t be supported for long.

Only Rely on Trusted Websites and Sellers

The more that you venture on unexplored places on the web, the more that you risk getting scammed or infected.

And it’s not just about websites but sellers too. I mean, eBay is a trustworthy website, but it relies on 3rd party sellers and you never know when someone might try to scam you.

For an example, I remember when someone didn’t ever send a keyboard that I had bought on eBay. I had already seen that coming as that guy was very shady but I still took my chances. Thankfully, eBay accepted my dispute and gave me a refund. I got lucky but I wouldn’t try that again. And I would advise you to do the same.

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William Fieldhouse

I currently work full time as a penetration tester and have been involved within the IT security industry for over a decade. I also love to pioneer any forms of new technology and ideologies for future advancements. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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William Fieldhouse

I currently work full time as a penetration tester and have been involved within the IT security industry for over a decade. I also love to pioneer any forms of new technology and ideologies for future advancements. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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