5 Security Tips for Online Shopping in 2017

‘Tis the season of holiday cookies, warm sweaters hot cocoa and… holiday shopping deals. According to Deloitte, retailers can expect to see holiday sales growth as much as 4.5 percent and could top $1 trillion between the months of November and January this year. It’s even looking better for online shopping.

“E-commerce sales… are expected to increase 18 to 21 percent during the 2017 holiday season… Digital sales climbed 14.3 percent in 2016”

It is certainly looking jolly for the retail industry all around, but with an increase in online shopping, does that mean an increase in cyber threats this season?

Are Retailers Keeping You Safe Online?

According to a Ponemon study, 62% of consumers say in the past two years that they have been notified by a company of government agency that their personal information was lost or stolen as a result of one of more data breaches. Moreover, 80% of consumers believe organizations have an obligation to take reasonable steps to secure their personal information.

Sounds correct, right?

But, here is the kicker – less than half of CMOs and IT practitioners agree that they have a responsibility to control access to consumers’ information and less than half believe their organizations have a responsibility to control access to consumers’ information.

Are you rethinking purchasing that really cute Santa ornament or that new winter coat now?

Tips to Stay Safe Online

Okay, so until retailers address consumer’s expectations about how their personal information is secured, consumers should follow these 5 quick and easy steps to stay safe while shopping online. After all, we cannot let a breach bring the holidays down.

  1. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) where possible, especially for your important financial account and e-mail. MFA proves the identity of the person trying to gain entry. An example is sending a push notification to the account owner’s phone and requiring a response before granting access. This way, even if your password is guessed or stolen, the bad guys will not be able to access your account.
  2. Use a password manager: 81% of breaches involve weak, default or stolen passwords. Until passwords are no longer used as a security method, use a password manager to help keep your various passwords complex, randomized and encrypted – and, ready for holiday shopping!
  3. Avoid using public wifi – Want to grab a peppermint latte at Starbucks and shop deals on your phone while there? Rethink that decision – a hacker could also be on that network. Save online shopping instead for home or another trusted network– that peppermint latte will taste just as good at home.
  4. Update your devices to the most current operating system – If there is an update for your computer, update it. This includes your phone’s software as well. Up-to-date software means fewer vulnerabilities.
  5. Don’t click that link! — Verify before you trust. Hover over the link – the URL should read “https” not “http.” Be especially careful about links in e-mails. A good deal is not worth a stolen credential!

Do you believe your passwords are safe? Read how easy it is for your Grandma to hack your password.