Cyber Security Tips for the Holidays and Beyond

December 14, 2017 | Leave a Comment

by Kathy Austin, CVA

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Close up of an iPhone in the front pocket of someone's jeans

It’s holiday time. We’re out shopping, traveling many miles back home to spend time with family and attending special holiday events.

Not too many of us leave home without our smart phones. We’re checking the latest deals or shopping online, taking photos and staying connected with family and friends.

Unfortunately, we take many risks with our smart phones that can cause minor inconveniences. Or huge problems. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has provided some important tips you’ll want to remember when using your smart phones during the busy holiday season and throughout the year.

What to Do:

  • Use a passcode for your smart phone or tablet.
  • Make sure to back up your information in case your device is stolen.
  • Keep your device out of sight from others and never leave your device unattended.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi networks to shop online or make financial transactions.
  • Use cellular data instead of a public Wi-Fi if you must check a bank balance or make a purchase.
  • Turn off bluetooth when not in use.
  • Be careful when using a public charging station like those at shopping malls. The same holds true for charging at public computer via a USB connection like at a public library.
  • Do not click on suspicious links or attachments in emails that may look like they are from legitimate retailers. Always type the web address in the search box.

 

If You’ve Been Hacked:

In the event you find your accounts have been hacked, the Department of Homeland Security recommends reporting the breech immediately to your bank, credit card company or retailer. This helps lessen the impact of the theft and minimizes your liability. You’ll also want to change all your passwords from a different computer.

If Your Identity is Stolen:

If you are a victim of identity theft, www.identitytheft.gov is a terrific source of information on steps to take. They include checklists and links to forms you’ll need to make things right again.

For more information and to learn why the above steps are important, visit the Department of Homeland Security Tip Sheet, ST 11-001.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Kathy is the Community Engagement Specialist at Second Sense.

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