Online shopping registered another steady uptick in popularity in 2017. Adobe reported that this year’s holiday season saw a 13% increase in web traffic over last year, with close to 40% of online shopping done on smartphones and other mobile devices. Sales from online shopping were set to exceed $100 billion this holiday season.

Unfortunately, as shoppers congregate online, so do cybercriminals. Cyberattacks and data breaches have become alarmingly commonplace — and they don’t need to be carried out on a large scale to cause serious damage. You can deploy best practices while shopping online for the holidays and beyond to stay secure. Here are a few tips:

  1. Check the retailer’s web address. It should say “https,” which indicates an extra layer of security as opposed to unsecure http. Do not enter your credit card information otherwise.
  2. Use your credit card, not your debit card, for online shopping. Using a credit card for purchases offers additional protections, including the ability to dispute charges. If a data breach does occur, your valuable bank balance is not left vulnerable and open to attack.
  3. Be skeptical. Don’t download sketchy-looking apps just because they might offer attractive deals. Don’t allow apps to access your data and contacts if possible.
  4. Check the spellings of the app names closely. Knockoffs of retailer websites are a real problem. Stay vigilant.
  5. Don’t click on pop-up ads. Pop-up ad blockers are available online and effectively decrease the number of annoying ads. Even if you can’t get rid of all of them, make sure to never click on any unless you’re absolutely sure of the source. Many will download malware onto your computer and can severely compromise data security.

‘Tis the season for making a list and checking it twice. A few cautionary steps while shopping online will help you have a bright and cheerful holiday season.

Contact CMIT Solutions to find out how you can secure your valuable personal data online.