Top tips to help keep you more cyber secure during the most wonderful time of the year
In preparation for the holidays, consumers young and old are going online to research and purchase gifts. In the U.S. alone, shoppers are expected to spend $151 billion online this holiday season, up 14 percent from $133 billion in 2017. Black Friday (Nov. 23) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 26) are predicted to be the two busiest internet-inspired shopping days – generating close to a fifth (18%) of the season’s revenue. In addition, sales will soar on mobile devices – accounting for an estimated 68 percent of e-commerce traffic.
With so much holiday shopping taking place on connected devices, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) conducted new research to gauge Americans’ gift giving plans, the confidence level into the security of their devices and other cyber habits. Some key findings include:
- More than a third of respondents (34%) plan to purchase internet-connected devices this holiday.
- Only 25 percent of respondents were “completely confident” that their devices, like their desktop computer, laptop or notebook, are free from viruses and malware.
- Eighty percent of respondents state that they think it is “somewhat to very important” to keep systems and software up-to-date on their devices.
- When addressing how likely they are to keep systems and software up-to-date within the next month, 75 percent answered that they were “somewhat to very likely” to do so.
During peak online periods, everyone needs to be extra careful and safeguard themselves against scammers, hackers and cybercriminals – who are actively on the hunt. It is critical to be aware of which simple, actionable steps to take to help protect highly personal data like credit card numbers and friends and family’s addresses. Where are folks going to learn about online safety? Interestingly, NCSA’s research indicates that nearly two thirds (60%) of consumers say that they prefer to receive information about online safety from “trusted websites.” With that said, the timing could not be more purr-fect: NCSA, Intel and Microsoft recently teamed up to launch a fun, clever campaign – starring cats – to remind the connected public about the importance of keeping systems and software up to date. Update Cat (and his feline friends) will remind Americans to take computer updates seriously and #UpdateMeow to help protect their digital lives and enjoy the many benefits of the internet – including hassle-free shopping – with more confidence and peace of mind.
You have enough to do to prepare for holidays. To ensure the festivities are joy-filled and worry-free, take these simple steps.
- Join Update Cat and his feline friends and #UpdateMeow: Before going on the prowl for that gotta-get gift, help protect all web-connected devices with the latest updates for your security software, web browser and operating system.
- Lock down your login: One of the most critical things you can do in preparation for the online shopping season is to fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
- When in doubt, throw it out: When everyone is busy and preoccupied with friends, festivities and holiday fanfare, links in emails, posts and texts are often the ways cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices.
For additional information, please visit staysafeonline.org/updatemeow/