How to Keep Your Data Safe When Online Shopping

The leaves have fallen, the candy has been collected, and the holiday season is here...almost. And that means it's time for online holiday shopping.




According to a 2021 survey by Statista, consumers worldwide reported their favorite way to shop was to buy products online and have them home delivered. And this number is expected to grow by 56% over the next years, reaching about $8.1 trillion by 2026. Online shopping offers many advantages — you don't have to leave home or deal with occasionally pesky salespeople, it's quick and easy, there are usually better prices — you name it! But as we head into Black Friday, it's important to think about how you'll keep your sensitive data, like card numbers, passwords, and other identifying info, safe this holiday season. Read on to explore five steps you can take to protect yourself when online shopping.


1. Enable multi-factor authentication 

Many websites and applications require users to turn on multi-factor authentication. Check if it's available, and make sure you turn it on for an added extra layer of security. If you can't use MFA, make sure your password is strong and unique. In some instances, like when using Chrome, you can select an auto-generated password that will be saved by the platform and used to securely log in. Some common tips for strong passwords are:

  • Make it long
  • Avoid common words
  • Don't re-use passwords (no matter how tempting it is!)


2. Secure your home network

You're only as secure as your home network. Wireless networks are the hubs that connect devices, which means that if a hacker gets in, none of your devices are safe. This goes beyond your phone and computer, too, and can also affect IP camerasvoice assistants, smart TVs, and connected appliances. So, how do you secure your home network? 

  • Change the router's preset password for the Wi-Fi network password and the router admin password.
  • Keep your router up to date by checking with the manufacturer or Internet Service Provider. Sign up to get notified of the latest updates, or check with your ISP to see if they send out auto-updates. 
  • Set up a guest network so fewer people have access to your primary Wi-Fi network. It also helps ensure that malware on one device won't unknowingly spread to the others connected to your primary network. 
  • Always log out as administrator after you're done changing settings. A hacker could easily get into your network and devices and change passwords or other security settings when logged in as administrator.
  • Protect your devices. Security does not begin and end with your network, you also need to make sure your devices are secure. More on this below! 

For help protecting your network, contact us today


3. Protect your computer and phone 

As stated above, securing your network is just the start, you also need to secure the devices connect to it. Make sure you're using strong passwords, and keeping devices up to date. Turning on automatic updates can help ensure you're adhering to the latest protections. When you're online, make sure your security software, operating system, and Internet browser are all up to date and safe to use. 


4. Be vigilant and report suspicious activity 

Hackers and scammers will often disguise themselves as legitimate organizations, like Apple or Amazon, and make up a reason that they need some info from you. Other companies they've impersonated include FedEx, the Postal Service, the Social Security Administration, and the FTC, according to the FTC. If it doesn't feel or seem legitimate, even if you're not sure, contact customer service at the organization to see if they know anything about the request, and take additional steps if necessary. If you get a phishing email or text message, report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at The FTC has other resources on reporting phishing, as well. 


5. Back up your info

Last, but certainly not least, it's important to make sure you back up all important info that's on your computer and phone. This helps ensure that you can recover information if anything were to go awry. For help backing up your devices, contact us today


Don't be stressed about security this holiday season! Follow these five steps to maximize your protection, or contact us today to learn more.



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