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Don’t let cybercriminals steal your joy this holiday season

Don’t let cybercriminals steal your joy this holiday season

The end of the year is filled with frenzied shopping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and online shopping are the norm. Although in Namibia, most of us still go to physical shops, there is a shift to shopping online, the convenience alone is worth it.

As we approach the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ we start thinking about buying presents online. This comes with a downside, as criminals target online shoppers, using increasingly sophisticated methods because cybercrime and fraud a worth hundreds of billions a year. Crooks can cause huge financial problems comprise IT systems and devices and ruin Christmas.

Each time we access the Internet on one of our many devices to shop for that perfect present, we are targeted by hackers through viruses and malware for example. We may think we are shopping online on a secure website, but phishing attacks and ‘replica’ websites that look and feel like the real deal, engage the user, and ask for personal data, and credit card details, leaving you very exposed.

You can buy presents from the comfort of your own home without compromising your security. It starts with having a robust up-to-date virus scanner and installing all necessary updates. A free virus scanner will not give you the protection you need. The simplest and perhaps most obvious is; that if an offer seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.

There are a few other rules to follow as well:

-Make sure you buy from trusted sellers and webshop
-Make sure there is a little padlock in the bottom corner of the website, denoting that it is secure
-Do not save any banking information on a website, however convenient it may seem.
-Do not shop while using a public Wi-Fi network, unless using a proper Virtual Private Network (VPN)
-Always use strong passwords and IDs when choosing a password for a website. A combination of letters, numbers, and symbols is usually the best. This hacking into your accounts much harder.
-Use your gut instinct, if something feels off on the website, then don’t engage further and log off the website.
-Cybercrime is one of the biggest growth markets and anyone can fall victim, vigilance and robust cyber-security software is essential. It can mean the difference between a happy holiday season or a ruined festive season, that has a huge negative financial impact.

In Namibia, we lack training, and knowledge when it comes to basic IT security processes that’s why focusing attention on being safe online, especially during the holiday season is important. Both at home and at your place of work. You may not just compromise your family’s online security, but perhaps that of the organization you work for. If you are apprehensive about shopping online, do so some research first and maybe check reviews for the webshop you are about to buy from.

Before you start shopping online this holiday season be vigilant and stay safe in cyberspace, ensuring you will have a wonderful holiday season.

Happy shopping.


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A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.