Staying safe online this Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday word cloud

Cyber Monday refers to the Monday straight after Black Friday and rounds off a four-day weekend of discounted shopping.

It gives online retailers the chance to cash in as traditionally Black Friday used to be an offline event and would see hoards of shoppers hit the high street.

However, with these added sales, cyber criminals now have an extra chance to take advantage of consumers looking to save money.

To help you stay safe online this Cyber Monday, we’ve pulled together a few of our top tips.

Strengthen your passwords

As we create more and more online profiles, a lot of people tend to use similar passwords for all of accounts. It’s understandable; successfully remembering more than a handful of different passwords is a difficult task. But if we all want to stay as safe as possible online, it’s vital that our passwords are strong and varied.

Consider using phrases rather than single words and add a string of numbers and special characters at the start, middle or end of these phrases.

You should consider using a password manager such as KeePass or LastPass. These services allow you to store the log-in details of all of your accounts in one place and they can even generate random and secure passwords for you. Just be sure to make the log-in details of your password manager as secure as possible.

Add two-factor authentication to all accounts that support it

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra-layer of security for online accounts. When switched on, it sends a unique code to your mobile phone (or an app) whenever you – or someone else – logs in from a new device or location.

This means that even if a hacker has somehow found out your password, they won’t have access to your account unless they’re also in possession of your phone.

Not all websites support 2FA, but it’s worth checking each service’s settings to see if the option is there.

Update your social media privacy settings

A large majority of us now share a portion of our lives across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. But the profiles we share personal content on are not secure by default and require action by the user to check the settings. Most major social media platforms offer a privacy checker tool.

Without locking down our social media accounts, much of the information we use to secure our other online accounts – such as the name of a first car, pet or school – is often publically visible to all. Once cyber criminals have this information, they may be able to use it to reset passwords and gain access to a variety of other accounts.

Beware of phishing emails

Cyber Monday is a golden opportunity for cyber criminals to attempt to fool you with a phishing email from a supposedly trusted source.

If you’re suspicious, look for typos and check all links. The best way to do this is by hovering over links until the address appears. If it doesn’t send you directly to a trusted source, the email is likely to be a scam and could direct you to a phishing website. Phishing websites are made to look official and will often ask you to enter your credentials so understanding what phishing is and how to avoid falling victim is vital.

Always check for HTTPS when purchasing online

When purchasing online, always check for the HTTPS lock icon at the top of your browser. If it’s not there, don’t use the page if you value your security .

This isn’t an exhaustive list and there are many more ways to stay safe online for Cyber Monday, the festive period and beyond.


For more information or if you have any questions, please contact us or visit https://www.getsafeonline.org/

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Published date:  28 November 2016

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