Not Everything Is Merry and Bright During the Holidays
By Pekin Insurance · Dec 2, 2020 ·2 min read
We may be stuck inside this holiday season due to COVID-19. Thanks to smaller crowds and fewer commitments, the holidays may even seem a little less stressful this year. But most of us will still want to purchase holiday gifts for friends and family, increasing our online interactions and moving in-person shopping experiences to the virtual realm. Don’t let those stress-free clicks on your favorite shopping sites lead to disaster. It’s time to brush up on ways to keep your data safe and your holidays merry and bright.
But first, a little background on why you should protect yourself. According to Carbon Black’s 2019 online Threat Report, global retail organizations have encountered a 20% increase in attempted cyberattacks, a continuing trend the company has been tracking since 2016.
The attackers are growing more sophisticated every year. According to the survey, 73% of retail organizations said they’ve seen an increase in cyberattack sophistication over the past year, and small businesses are increasingly becoming targets for cybercriminals.
What does this mean to you? It means each year there is a greater chance that your data and identity could be compromised. Below are some helpful tips on what you can do to prevent that from happening.
According to a legal website, here’s what you should do:
- Lock your devices. Lock your laptop and mobile devices using a fingerprint/face ID or PIN. This is your first line of defense if your device is lost or stolen.
- Physically secure your devices. Never leave your device unattended. Do not put devices in checked luggage or leave them in hotel rooms. If you use your laptop in a public space, consider using a privacy screen and a locking cable.
- Use your own power adapters and cords. Public USB ports may contain malware that an attacker can use to access your devices. This could include USB ports in airports and hotel lamps.
- Report lost and stolen devices. Immediately notify your company’s security officer or IT department if your company-issued device is lost or stolen.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi and disable auto-connect. Free Wi-Fi is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Turn off any auto-connect features on your devices to avoid inadvertently joining public Wi-Fi. Turn off Bluetooth too as attackers can use this to gain access to your device.
- Change your passwords. Before you travel, change passwords that you regularly use. Then change them again when you get home. Avoid using the same password on multiple sites. Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible.
- Ensure your operating and security systems are up to date. This includes systems on your laptop and mobile devices (including apps). Using the latest anti-virus software is an effective way to protect your data. For company-issued devices, only use programs approved by your company.
- Encrypt. Encrypt sensitive information on mobile devices. Laptops should have full-disk encryption.
- Back up your data. Before you travel, make sure your personal data is backed up and secure. Check your company’s data back-up policies for information related to your company-issued devices.
- Follow policies and procedures. Whenever you travel, ensure that you remain compliant with your company’s security policies and procedures to protect your company-issued device and data.
Another good tip is to make sure you have identity fraud protection services. Powered by Cyberscout,™ Pekin Insurance offers coverage for its policyholders. Learn more here.
Don’t let invisible thieves sneak away with your holiday spirit. Fight back by being proactive to protect your data and your identity.