As the holiday shopping seasons ramps up, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is urging online shoppers to be on the lookout and to stay vigilant against cyber criminals looking to target them.
CISA says that the holiday shopping season is a prime opportunity for bad actors to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers through various methods, such as fake websites, malicious links, fake charities and more.
According to the agency, the goal of cyber criminals is simple: get your personal and financial information to compromise your data, deploy malicious software, steal your identity, and take your money.
“As the nation’s cyber defense agency, our goal is to make sure Americans are safe online, especially during the holiday season,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “By following a few guiding principles like checking your devices, shopping from trusted sources, using safe purchasing methods, and following basic cyber hygiene like multi-factor authentication, you can drastically improve your online safety when shopping online for gifts this year.”
CISA is recommending a few easy actions to prevent people from becoming a victim of cyber criminals:
- Check your devices: Before making any online purchases, make sure the device you’re using to shop is up to date. Next, check the strength of your account passwords and use multi-factor authentication if you can. CISA says that multi-step process adds another layer of protection.
- Shop through trusted sources: You wouldn’t go into a store with boarded up windows and without signage – the same rules apply online. If it looks suspicious, something’s probably not right.
- Use safe methods for purchasing: If you’re going to make that purchase, what information are you handing over? Make sure you understand how your information will be stored and used.
“Your cyber safety should be treated like your physical safety,” Easterly added. “Stay vigilant, take steps to protect yourself, and trust your instincts. If you see something that doesn’t look right, there’s a good chance it isn’t.”
More tips from CISA on how to have a safe and successful online shopping experience this holiday season can be found here.