This Friday is Black Friday. With big brands already running their offers now, this week will have seen millions of shoppers log on to purchase some great deals. When shopping online, there are a number of things you need to be aware of before parting ways with your credit card details and more. Here is a little handy guide on how to stay safe this Black Friday.
Strengthen your password
Don't have the same password for everything. If you can't think of a secure enough password for each of your online accounts, use a secure password generator such as 1password. You can make passwords more secure by using upper case and lower case letters combined with numbers. You'll be surprised to hear that 1234 is commonly used in passwords, as are peoples years of birth and other information that could be easily found and used. Try to make each of your passwords different and more complex than your pets name or lucky number.
You can also check if your username or email address has been hacked or released on this handy website.
Anti Virus Software
Protect your computer or device with anti virus software. If you're not sure on what is best for you, ask a professional. It pays to protect yourself in circumstances like this. There are plenty of scams where companies are pretending to be Microsoft or other, and hacking into peoples devices. Simply go to your local Currys/PC World and ask an expert to help you install anti virus software and show you how to use it.
When making payment online, check that the website uses a secure online service. Check that there is a padlock in front of the URL and the website address begins with https://. Websites must pass certain security tests in order to be accredited with the padlock an the S stands for secure.
Check your Wi-Fi is secure
Your home Wi-Fi will also need to be protected with a secure password, that only you and your house occupants know. When online shopping, don't use a public Wi-Fi or hotspot.
Double check before downloading
When it comes to apps for your phone or software for your computer, make sure that you are downloading the official version and do a bit of research before hitting the download button. You will also need to check what permissions the app asks for such as access to your contact information or other details.
If your software has updates to install, or your app has a newer version with bug fixes, make sure you update them as soon as you can. Older versions could mean you are open to vulnerabilities especially if there is no longer support for that older version
Don't fall for hoax emails
Companies such as Microsoft, Apple or your bank will never email you or message you asking for you to provide details, to download something or login to your account. Delete any emails that appear to be asking for information that you wouldn't be normally asked to provide. Try not to open any suspicious emails, and check the email address you've received it from closely. Phishing emails and texts can often catch people out by looking genuine when they are not.
Always log out
Always, always, always log out of your accounts when you're finished with them and log off a computer when you've finished using it. Especially if it's a public computer or device.
And finally, if it's too good to be true it probably is!
If an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Unfortunately, many people fall victim to hoaxes and scams including false websites selling dodgy goods, unsolicited telephone calls offering tech or computer support and false emails with convincing branding.
Be alert this Black Friday and take a look through the tips we've listed above. Be cyber safe!