Do’s and Don’ts to Prepare for Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday, the online equivalent to Black Friday, is the biggest online shopping day of the year and signals the beginning of the holiday online shopping season.
Last year, Cyber Monday shoppers spent a record $7.9 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics. However, one of the significant concerns for both the consumers and the retailers is safety. According to Experian, 43 percent of consumers who had their identity stolen claimed it happened while shopping online during the holidays. For businesses, there are news stories about ransomware attacks or retailers suffering a cyber-attack and losing data.
Joseph Dalessandro, an expert and professor in information technology in Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement, is available to speak about what shoppers should do during the biggest shopping days of the year.
Here are Dalessandro’s eight tips to stay safe on Cyber Monday:
- Get a password manager and let it pick and store the passwords for you. There are several good free ones out there. The most important thing in passwords is not fancy characters or cleverly replacing all “A’s” with “4’s”, it is length, pure and simple. Long passwords are hard to crack and can’t ever be guessed. For example, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad” equates to “TiTdTlHmLuRaBg” it’s 14 characters, easy to remember and harder to guess than “p4ssword” or “p4ssw0rd” or the dreaded “p4ssw0rd1”. If required to have a number, replace the first or last character with a number and don’t get overly creative. Creativity equals forgotten quickly.
- As a computer owner, make sure your software is always up-to-date. This takes time. Don’t wait until Monday.
- Use anti-virus protection. If you’re spending thousands online buying stuff, then pay $70 on anti-virus software. Again, always make sure it is up-to-date.
- Use browser plug-ins to protect privacy by stopping online tracking and unwanted code from running without your consent. This takes a little time to set up, do it now and be safer online all the time.
- Never click links from email. This is the No. 1 method for thieves to steal your data or for ransomware to infect you.
- Use two-factor authentication. This is a big ask, but it is the best way to stay safe online. Two-factor authentication is where you enter your password on a website, please use something other than “password” and THEN enter a special code that is texted to your phone, or that you get from an app on your phone. This is the online shopping equivalent of having your own personal security guard.
- Use one credit card for online shopping, not multiple credit cards. This centralizes your risk in one place and makes you pay close attention to how much you are spending and where.
- Pay attention to your bank account. If money is leaving without your knowledge, call the bank or credit card company ASAP.