With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, many of us are preparing to splash the cash and secure some bargains! 35% of adults are planning to make purchases in the sales.

As usual, when there is money to be made the cyber criminals are presented with the perfect opportunity to make money off the unsuspecting shoppers.

According to Barclays, nearly a quarter of 18-34 year olds have fallen for a Black Friday scam in the past 5 years. On average, these shoppers lose £661.

Keep yourself safe this Black Friday by following these tips.

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Only use secure websites

Before entering any information to a website, you should always check that the site is legit. The fastest way to check this is to hover your mouse over the website URL. There should be a padlock symbol in the address bar and the URL should begin with either ‘https://’ or ‘shttp://’. This will indicate that the site is encrypted and secured with an SSL certificate. If this isn’t the case, it means that any data entered to the site is at risk.

When possible, use a credit card for online shopping

When making a purchase using a credit card it automatically gives you additional protection compared to other forms of payment. If a fraudulent purchase is made with a credit card you are highly likely to be reimbursed by your bank very quickly. With debit cards, it can be a lot more difficult to get any money back.

Keep your eyes peeled for phishing emails

Phishing is one of the most common types of cyber attack. You will notice an increase in malicious emails at this time of year as companies will be sending out an increased number of emails anyway. If you have any suspicions, please contact your IT support provider to double check.

Use strong passwords

Although you may have heard it 100 times before, setting up a strong password is the easiest and quickest way to add another layer of security. If a hacker can access just one of your accounts, it may give them access to the other ones.

It’s important to use different passwords for each of your accounts. We also recommend using a string of non-related words as it makes it difficult to guess, as well as special symbols and both upper and lower case letters.

If you would prefer access to a password manager, please chat to us today.

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Avoid public Wi-Fi when browsing online

Using public Wi-Fi is a big risk in itself, let alone when online shopping and potentially entering in bank details to make a purchase.

Public Wi-Fi requires no authentication, and the network can be accessed by anyone. If a hacker is using the same network as you, they can easily access your device and steal any data they want. They can also use the network to spread malware to infect your device.

Keep your software updated

This is another one that you may have heard 100 times before, but it really does make a difference. Keeping your software up to date will ensure there are no weaknesses or security gaps that hackers may take advantage of.

Invest in comprehensive IT security such as LAN Support

Every company should have at least the basic measures in place to protect themselves and their customers. If not, you are breaking GDPR guidelines and would be liable to a large fine as well as reputation damage.

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