The holiday season is upon us once again. From everyone here at TwelveSec I want to extent our best wishes.

Along with the season greetings this time of year also brings holiday shopping. Year after year people abandon the traditional shopping routines and turn online for their holiday needs. So, along with our holiday wishes, we decided to provide 12 cyber security tips to make your online Holiday shopping safer.

1. Trust Only Secured Websites

Always make certain that the e-shop you are about to buy employees secure communications. Always do that before providing sensitive personal information online.

You can identify a secured site by the closed padlock on the left-hand side of the status bar. Also, the site’s URL should always start with HTTPS.


2. Be Wary Of Suspicious Links

If you receive a message or an email from an unknown source do not click on it. This includes ads on mobile apps.

Not opening said links or adds, is the best way to ensure your safety.


3. Strong Passwords Are Important

We know that this tip seems obvious, but unfortunately a lot of people continue to disregard it.

For starters do not use the same password for multiple sites.

Avoid at all costs using passwords like, 1234567, you name, your date of birth, and “password”.

Always use passwords that are hard to crack. Always include a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.

Using well known and trusted password managers can help you track your different/hard passwords, in a secure manner.


4. Check Twice Before Buying From A New E-shop

We are not saying that you should avoid all newly established websites; We just advise that you better be careful.

New websites might be more aggressive than well established ones, so they will provide attractive prices to attract new customers. Although if you happen to see something that it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Do your due diligence and check online to find information for this “unknown” vendor before taking the plunge.


5. If It Is An Option Do Not Provide Your Personal Info

If you do not intend to become a returning customer avoid filling unnecessary information.

Most e-shops give you the option to check out as a one-time customer, or visitor.


6. Keep Documentation From Your Online Purchases

When you are buying something online usually an email is sent to you confirming the order.

You should keep those emails, just in case.


7. Malicious Gift Cards

It has become customary to send gift cards to your loved ones as gifts for the holidays.

To keep yourself and your loved ones safe always buy your gift cards from the official retailer and avoid as much as possible third parties. There is a slight possibility that a cybercriminal will be behind those third-party retailers.


8. Fake Charities

During the holiday season people tend to give more to charities than any other time of the year. So, one of the biggest scums during this period is setting up fake charities. While some fake charities are only interested to scum you out of your money, others might be more malicious and also steal you card info.

Before you donate to a charity this holiday season, unless you know about the charity beforehand, spend some time online and do some research to ensure that your donation is not going to the hands of a cybercriminal.


9. Use Two-factor Authentication When Possible

You should always enable two-factor authentication when possible, but it’s oftentimes neglected by many. By doing this you add an additional layer of security, making it harder to anyone with malicious intents to gain access to your online accounts.


10. Do Your Holiday Shopping From A Secure Environment

Always use your own device when buying things online. Also, it is advisable to also use a network that you can trust. It is preferable to avoid public Wi-Fi networks in public places where your sensitive information can be easily highjacked by cybercriminals.


11. Avoid Using Your Debit Card

Instead of using your Debit Card for your online purchases use a Credit Card or a Pre-paid Card.

Just in case a cybercriminal acquires your information online, this simple tip can reduce the damage.

Credit Cards have spending limits while most Debit Cards don’t.

A Pre-paid Card is of course the most secure option in this scenario, since what’s at risk is only a set amount of money.

Furthermore, if you want to avoid using cards altogether, Paypal is always a secure alternative.


12. Check Your Bank Statements

Now days there are myriads of ways to check you bank statements literally at any time.

Take advantage of this and if you spot any unusual charges either to your bank account or to your credit cards report it ASAP. In addition, if this option is provided by your bank, you should enable alerts for each transaction taking place regarding your card.


We hope that these simple tips would help you make you Holiday shopping more secure.

Again, from all of us here at TwelveSec our best wishes for the Holiday season.