The holidays are approaching and we are all looking forward to spending quality time with our friends and families. The rush is on to purchase the last few gifts to make the celebrations that extra bit special. In this season of goodwill, TCPOS, in partnership with the Security Awareness Foundation for Education and Research (SAFER), would like to share with you a few tips to stay “cyber safe” this Christmas and enjoy trouble-free festivities.
1. Read twice before you buy. The holiday season is full of special bargains designed to entice you to buy straight away while stocks last. As much as this can be rewarding, before you press the “BUY” button ensure that you follow these simple guidelines:
- Make sure the site you are buying from is using HTTPS on all pages. Never enter your personal data at any place not known or not protected under HTTPS.
- We recommend using payment services that provide a payback warranty or card authorization via secure 3D. If not compliant with these requirements, the site may be malicious.
- If the price is too low, it may be a suspicious vendor. If the goods on offer have a discount higher than 20% on consumer electronics then make sure you check the price history.
2. Christmas e-mail greetings.We all love exchanging greeting cards, don’t we? Today, the number of printed cards are increasingly being increased by singing and dancing e-cards and we can’t wait to open them as soon as they hit the inbox. But, before opening a message, take a little pause to think about the following:
- Never click on a direct link. Copy the link and paste it in your browser to avoid any incident
- Opening DOC, ZIP, VBS files can be an issue. We know that most companies filter them directly through the corporate mail system, but is private mail completely secure? So, never execute EXE or JAR files that invite you to have fun.
- Android update. Do you have an Android smartphone and you not updated it for over one year? If so, then please update it now to avoid hidden infections carried in pictures and video greetings.
3. Phishing for Christmas. Further threats can arrive via e-mail, disguised as special offers, or requests for information:
- If you receive any message related to a blocked credit card, payment account or e-mail, do not click on the link provided. More likely, this will bring you to a bogus version of the legitimate page, which is in reality being run by hackers. If this happens, you can say goodbye to your account! Verify this by typing the actual address of your account in your browser using the details your account provider has supplied you with and login that way. Don’t forget to always look for HTTPS and the green sign that states that the site owns a PCI DSS security certificate.
4. Office gifts could be nefarious.Did you receive a cute Christmas tree USB stick from a mysterious vendor, unknown friend or that just arrived from a foreign country? We suggest being ultra careful!
- An unrequested gift could contain malware like keyloggers, spyware or even a microcomputer. Please consult with your IT team before using them for any business purpose.
- Phone chargers from unknown sources are also a dangerous potential threat. Once connected to your phone they can steal your contacts, photos and other personal data.
5. Smart Home Appliances. If you do purchase or received any any of the new-fangled smart home appliances such as TV, fridge, heater, etc. then do ensure they are well protected and ensure you change all default passwords for any electronic devices. The Internet of Things should not include the delivery person knowing how to access your systems. That wouldn’t be so smart!
Data Protection isn’t just for Christmas
Protecting your personal and company’s data from cyber criminals is not just for Christmas but is something we all need to think about all year round.
And, what about your customers’ data? Did you know that in 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the European Union and will have a transformational effect on business commerce as we know it today. Is your business GDPR ready?
If not, then feel free to contact our Cyber Security officer at who will be happy to lend a helping hand.
Happy Christmas from the TCPOS Team!