Cyber Monday is coming

‘Black Friday’ will soon be upon us, when shoppers brave the high-streets in search of bargains! The shops will be expecting a bumper Christmas boost signalling the start of their Christmas rush! But Black Friday will be swiftly followed by ‘Cyber Monday’, where online retailers see a surge in online activity as prices are slashed and deals are the order of the day!  “Hurrah!” I hear you cry! But wait… I don’t mean to be a Grinch but it’s not all good news.

Cyber Monday – £2bn spending spree.

With Brexit looming, no one is quite sure what the buying public will be doing come Black Friday, but estimates suggest the figure could be close to last year’s £10bn injection to the UK high-street economy.  But ‘Cyber Monday’ is likely to also equal, if not smash, previous years totals, as experts predict we will spend around £2bn online on Black Friday and on Cyber Monday. Great news for you and I, great news for the economy and… great news for the bad guys too!

Top Tips for a Cyber Happy Christmas.

Like the miser of Dicken’s novel, ‘Scrooge’, cyber criminals are rubbing their hands together and greedily watching as we go about our online shopping.  The criminals know that we are on the hunt for bargains and that we are cash rich, but time poor so we are less likely to check our bank accounts for strange transactions, and less likely to research those ‘bargains’ we’re seeing on our screens and in our inboxes.

So what can we do?  Follow these tips to be cyber-savvy and you’ll have a happier Christmas without the ‘Grinch’ stealing your Christmas money (and Christmas cheer).

  • Don’t believe everything you read – If you get an email from a site offering to sell you bargain items at crazy low prices it could be a trap (“55’’ TV’s for just £250” anyone?).  As the saying goes if it seems to be good to be true; it probably is.
  • Check the site is secure – before entering your personal details, like bank account information look for the ‘closed padlock’ on your web browser and make sure the site begins with ‘https’.
  • Computer housekeeping – make sure your PC is up to date with the latest anti-virus software and security settings are enabled.
  • Check your accounts – cyber criminals hope you’re too busy to check your bank accounts.  Don’t fall into the trap.  Check your bank account regularly and if you spot any strange transactions – report it.
  • Change Passwords – I know you’ve heard this one before, but don’t use the same password for everything! Having the same password is like having one key for your car, house, office etc.
  • Don’t click or respond– A common practice at this time of year is for a scammer to email you an attachment with something like “Your order is being processed. Please see attached the £699 order you have made”.  Your immediate reaction is to cry “WHAT?!” and then click on the file to open it.  At that point your PC may be infected with a virus, ransomware or some other malicious software, and your Christmas is going to become a lot more expensive than you thought.

Conclusion.

Christmas can be an expensive time.  We all want to buy nice things for our loved ones and criminals (cyber and traditional) are aware of this.  Don’t give them what they want this year – give them a tough time and keep the ‘gift giving’ to those huddled around your tree, not those huddled around a computer.

Agenci.

Agenci Information Security is responsible for protecting businesses from cyber threats, cyber-attack, internal threats and business outages. Agenci Information Security ensures client systems are secure and provide peace of mind through a range of proven specialist information security solutions.

If you’d like to discuss Information Security, Cyber Security or Christmas then please contact Gary by clicking here, or email him @ ghibberd@thegenci.com.  You can also call him on 0845 4133 666.