Don't Get Hacked This Holiday Season

Don’t Get Hacked This Holiday Season

By: Kathryn Schoening, IT Technician

The most wonderful time of the year is here. Make sure it stays wonderful by protecting your data, computer, and yourself when purchasing the perfect presents online. 

Scammers are always dreaming up new ways to take advantage of as many people as possible. These tips will protect you no matter the illicit scheme that comes up next. 

  • Make sure your antivirus is up to date. Having an antivirus installed on your computer is protection 101, but don’t delay the updates either. Your antivirus can’t protect you if it doesn’t know how. 
  • Antivirus pop-ups are a scam. Never click on a pop-up that claims your computer is infected and needs a scan. If you had a virus, the antivirus program on your computer would tell you. Run a manual scan using your installed antivirus if necessary. 
  • Keep passwords unique. It’s less convenient, but keep passwords unique for each account login such as online banking, retailers and other sites with personal information. Consider setting up multi-factor authentication for critical accounts. It takes more time to login, but increases security substantially. 
  • Only store passwords in a secure password manager. Again, it’s not as convenient, but avoid auto-saving passwords in your devices. If your computer or phone gets lost or stolen, criminals get easy access to your accounts without even needing your password. The inconvenience of typing your password every time you log in is worth it to keep your information secure. 
  • Don’t send information. Don’t share login information and passwords over email or text even to people you trust unless using some sort of encryption. The information can be intercepted by hackers while in transit to the recipient. 
  • Monitor your accounts. Check your bank and credit card statements for unknown charges. Many banks and credit cards also allow you to get a message every time a charge is applied. 
  • Keep your receipts. After you make a purchase, put the confirmation, receipt, and tracking number in a designated place in your email inbox until the shipment arrives. If you don’t get the package, contact the merchant. 
  • Look for the “S.” Ensure you’re only making purchases from websites with an address that uses HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure). Always make purchases from secure websites to protect yourself and your data. 
  • Update from Windows 7. Microsoft will stop creating updates and security patches for Windows 7 starting in January. If you have Windows 7, it’s time to upgrade your operating system. Give us a call if you need help!

From all of us at Networks Plus, we hope you have a safe, warm, merry season!