The holiday season is upon us; it’s no secret that at this time of year the bad guys increase their efforts to get our credentials and get into our bank accounts.
Be on the lookout for a rise in phishing attempts intermingled with holiday mailings of major season deals and surprise emails from anyone you were not expecting. Prime candidates are unexpected package delivery alerts, mega shopping deals, credit card payment alerts and even a stranded loved one in a foreign country.
If you’re running a POS system, make certain the software for your devices is current, device management passwords have been changed recently and these passwords are not used in any other systems in the environment.
Other tips to stay data secure this holiday season:
• Slow down. Attackers want you to act first and think later. Most phishing emails come with an urgent call to action.
• Research the facts. If you are not expecting anything related to the call to action statement, be suspicious of any unsolicited messages with an unexpected “benefit.” For the most part, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
• Monitor your bank account and credit card statements for any strange or unfamiliar transactions. Notify your bank immediately if you notice anything suspicious. Small transactions, such as a $1 charitable donation, are often used by criminals to test if a card is still usable.
• Carefully guard personal information such as your address, your Social Security number, or date of birth, and don’t use easily guessed passwords or PIN codes. All of these details can be used to facilitate identity theft and defeat additional security checks.
• Keep your systems and antivirus engines up to date.
• Only “click” on what you know and expect.
Keep these tips in mind for a safe and secure holiday season.