There’s no better time to think about securing your data and devices than, well, a month dedicated to cybersecurity. October 2021 marks the 18 years since the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA) created Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The CISA originally created the “holiday” to educate people, promote online safety, and spread awareness about both the vulnerabilities of cyberspace and possible solutions.
In that spirit, we’ve put together five cybersecurity tips for individuals who might be unsure of how to protect their digital lives and data.
Be wary about pop-ups and ads in general.
While some of them might seem legit, they are often a way for scammers to trick over-enthusiastic online shoppers into clicking them, and then they can redirect you to malicious websites. Be wary of ads that seem too good to be true and just close them or block them out with an ad-blocker.
Don't trust every email you get.
Phishing emails are used to trick shoppers to go to malicious websites and enter their CC information and/or install all sorts of nasty malware in the process. If you receive a suspicious email from an address you never heard of, with a link to an unknown website, don't open attachments and don't go to the website because it can be malicious. By opening the attachment, you could be installing malware on your device. This is a very popular way that criminals try to steal your information or infect your devices. As in the previous tip, if the deal is too good to be true, then just delete the email.
Don't use free public Wi-Fi for shopping.
Using MITM (Man in the Middle) methods, attackers might be listening in on your communication and intercept the traffic. It is best to use a trusted Wi-Fi connection like the one at your home. If you aren't at home, then I'd recommend that you turn your smartphone into a hotspot to connect your laptop to the internet.
Avoid unknown websites and only shop on websites that you trust.
That new gaming console might look very interesting when it's being offered for $200 cheaper than on other websites. But, at the same time, that shady-website-dot-com will be stealing your CC information when you order something from them.
Do some research and check for reviews.
If you are buying on a new website, check for existing reviews. Scammers usually don't have reviews. Look to see if there are other customers that post their experiences with the website.
Let us know down below if you have any other cybersecurity tips in the comments below.