Hackers always love the holiday season. Lots of people are spending lots of money (both online and in-store) for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. When there are so many people making purchases all over the world, there are countless opportunities to steal information. Data such as credit card numbers and personally identifiable information can be taken and used to make people’s lives pretty miserable, during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
Holidays are the perfect chance for hackers to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers, which means that you need to take extra precaution when doing your holiday shopping.
Just a few short years ago, Target suffered a massive data breach around the holiday season that exposed countless users’ personal and financial information, putting the exposed people in peril and ruining many a holiday season.
We’ll walk you through some tips about how to be careful both in-store and online.
Look for Encryption Protocol
Before you shop for anything online, look for encryption protocol set up on any retail websites or payment portals. By this, we mean that the site has been equipped with HTTPS security protocol, which hides your payment credentials behind a layer of encryption designed to obfuscate your information in the event of a breach. Furthermore, you should only shop via trusted online retailers and not sketchy unheard-of stores for hard-to-find items.
Make Purchases with Cash
One of the best ways to keep your credit card information safe during the holiday season is to just make purchases with cash. This is a simple preventative method, but it can be somewhat risky to carry a lot of cash in case of theft or loss. It’s all about risk management, so only carry what you need.
Use Online Wallets
Services like Apple Pay and Android Pay can act as a go-between for the retailer and your bank account, and as long as you only add cash as part of a one-time addition (so that the app doesn’t store your information), you can effectively limit the risk associated with using these services to make payments. Due to the increase in popularity of smartphones over the past several years, most retailers accept some form of payment via smartphone app. Just do a little bit of research beforehand so that you’re not caught off-guard when a retailer doesn’t allow it.
With these tips from White Mountain IT Services, you’ll be sure to stay safe during this holiday season.