All I want for Christmas is: for my details to be safe whilst I’m shopping

Not quite as snappy as Mariah Carey’s version, but you catch my drift.

Most of us have festive tunnel vision. We see a bargain, and all we can see is the delight that relative will exude when they open it on Christmas Day – either that or we’re blinded by all the lights that were put up WAY too early by our competitive neighbour, kindly tone it down a little bit Neil.

As much as I hate to admit it, Christmas is no longer about those magical two words; festive spirit. As soon as November hits, high-street shop queues are heaving, turkey’s are scooped up in record timing, and good luck getting out of the car park before it gets dark. For some – mostly younger members of society – the 25th is less about being holy, and more about what size screen their latest tech is.

With tech in mind, did you know Christmas is one of the most menacing times of year for retailers in terms of cyber-security? £78.69 billion worth of sales occurred over in the run up to Christmas last year – according to a Statista report that compared 2016 to 2017 – a gold-mine for hackers looking out for loopholes in a company’s cybersecurity. SecurityScoreCard – a cyber-rating company – also disclosed that the retail industry is most vulnerable to cyber-attacks, without the addition of the Christmas period looming over its head. What can customers do to keep cyber-attacks from hitting them hard?

Free Wi-fi

We’ve all been here. You’ve used all your 4G, so your last resort is to scrounge off all the free Wi-Fi that you can find whilst you’re shopping. Whilst this seems like a great idea, that add-on is definitely more worth it.

Norton – a cross-platform security suite pro – emphasizes that you should be aware of the risks that are involved when you decide to connect to public Wi-Fi. Having auto-connect activated, going onto sites and apps that contain sensitive data, and visiting sites that require no password etc., will only put you at further risk – along with many other factors.

Changing of passwords + 2FA

In 2011, Statista found that £7.9 billion was spent online during the Christmas period. Whereas in 2016, that figure had shot up to £25 billion. Considering two years has passed since 2016, we can only assume (with some high-street shops closing-down and focusing on their online stores) that this figure is set to rise.

With this in mind, keeping on top of your cyber-security at home is just as important as it is when you’re out and about. Passwords and their complexity is paramount (something better than your name + 123.) Back in 2014, Business Insider had a debate with five web-security experts to see how many times you should change your passwords annually. Over all, it was agreed upon that you should change passwords that you use more regularly (bank, retailers, social medias) around 2-3 times a year – unless you have been told to do so due to data breaches or such like. They also have some handy tips and tricks on how to keep your password fresh and guess-free.

Two-Factor-Authentication (2FA) is a phrase you probably have heard mentioned over the past year. To break it down for those who are unsure of what it means:

  1. What you know e.g. a password
  2. What you use e.g. an app
  3. What you are e.g. a fingerprint

With these features implemented, it makes it harder (dare I say impossible?) for hackers to get what they want, making it safe for you to use.

Customers keeping aware of their cyber-security safety is simply not enough. Retail companies will need implement the latest cyber-security tools, and a substantial team behind them to stay one step ahead of hackers and malicious content.

OR you can come to us. We have everything you need to make sure you’re safely guarded this Christmas, making your biggest worry who makes the biggest fool out of themselves at this year’s party.