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More than you bargained for

It’s crazy to think that it is November already, you always find yourself saying you can’t believe how quickly a year has flown by. This year has not only flown by but been an extremely busy one in the cyber security sector, hackers don’t take any holidays, neither do our cyber security specialists!

 November brings along two events that if not practiced correctly, become a hacker’s paradise.

 If you haven’t guessed it already, I am referring to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A shopper’s dream, deals galore and excitement that can lead to security’s best practices going out the window!

Cyber criminals take advantage of this by equipping themselves with numerous phishing scams and malware, waiting to lure unsuspecting and eager shoppers for deals via social media and online.

Most deals that are offered for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are already hard to believe, with massive discounts consumers are then led to fake or compromised websites online. When the user is expecting “unbelievable” deals they sometimes let their guard down. This allows cyber criminals to have a better chance at getting your financial information.

Emails will be pouring in from stores you are subscribed to and some that you have never heard of before. Be careful of emails asking you to sign up or click on something in order to be notified as soon as things go on sale or if a new deal arises. Hackers disguise their attacks to fool you into falling for it, especially if it is around the time you would start getting these types of promotions.

 If you have subscribed already, the company wouldn’t need you to enter your credentials again, make sure that the email matches past mails and if anything looks out of place, take that as a sign that it is an infected email and should be deleted. If you do not recognize the company the email is from, definitely a spammer trying their luck thinking you are in such a deal frenzy you would be intrigued instead of apprehensive.

This is why having the right security measures on your work and home network. With J2 Software’s newly launched SME and Home Secure security solution, you will be able to enjoy your shopping knowing you are protected.

You should be taking extra care around this time, not only online but with physical stores too.

When opening a new account, make sure that you only enter basic information required to activate the account and not to divulge too much information.

The stores will try and get you to add as much personal information as possible such as your date of birth, home address, location details and cell phone numbers to make it easier for them to contact you etc but in fact this increases cyber security risks. If their system is breached, the cyber attacker will hit a gold mine and be able to use all the information retrieved for multiple attacks. Don’t be afraid to ask them how your personal information is stored and protected.

Don’t let your guard down, especially when cyber criminals are out in full force using these types of events as a time to put their skills to the test and make you pay for more than just the flat screen on a must have deal!  

Let’s get real.

Olivia-Hannah Coetzee