Ten tips to stay cyber safe this holiday season

’Tis the season to be wary.

The holiday season may be merry and bright, but it’s also a time when cybercriminals prey on vulnerable shoppers.

With an increased amount of transactions, both at the register and online, it’s important to stay cautious and continue to protect sensitive personal information.

Russ Fisenko, Technical Analyst with Brock’s Information Technology Services (ITS), says that cybercriminals are professionals at creating imitation emails and websites.

“With an increasing amount of people shopping online these days, hackers will construct emails claiming to be UPS or a similar delivery service that tracks and confirms customers’ online shipments,” he said. “The emails will likely include hyperlinks or attachments containing malicious software.”

Fisenko says that people should also be wary of entering personal information into unfamiliar websites.

“Stick to the online stores you’re familiar with,” he said. “Fake websites are often created to collect sensitive data or gain access to your computer. Think before you click.”

The ITS security team is offering the Brock University community 10 tips to stay cyber safe this holiday season:

  1. Common sense is the best defence: If something seems odd, suspicious or too good to be true, it is most likely an attack.
  2. Keep operating systems and software up to date on all computers and mobile devices.
  3. Creating strong, unique passwords for each online account.
  4. Encrypt and password-protect any sensitive data before it’s emailed.
  5. Never respond to a suspicious phishing email. If in doubt, report and delete it.
  6. Be mindful of what you post online.
  7. Keep mobile devices secure by enabling a PIN or passcode and only download apps from known sources such as Google Play or Apple Store.
  8. Regularly backup important files.
  9. Avoid clicking on links and opening attachments or emails from people you don’t know or companies you don’t do business with.
  10. Don’t give away sensitive information to a stranger. Ensure that the person you are dealing with is exactly who they claim to be.

For more information, visit the ITS cyber security website, email itsecurity@brocku.ca or call the ITS Help Desk at x4357.

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