Online Shopping scamsWith the holiday season quickly approaching, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday waiting patiently on everyone’s collective doorsteps, businesses need to prepare for the onslaught of heightened cyber activity. There is no doubt about it: the holidays are a risky time for businesses, in more ways than one.

Security Relating to Online Shopping:

Online shopping is increasing in popularity for many reasons, many of which relate to simplicity and ease of use. Unfortunately, this can become problematic for business owners whose employees tend to use the company’s network for their own personal use. Unfortunately, cyber criminals have access to sophisticated technology, allowing them to use even the smallest snippet of information as a weapon against small and medium business owners.

1. Encourage employees who may go on an online shopping spree on Cyber Monday to avoid using their debit cards and remind them the company’s network is not for personal shopping.

2. It is also of utmost importance to use personal email addresses rather than those used for work purposes. Using work email addresses indiscriminately could potentially open up the company to malicious cyber attacks from hackers who connect the employee to the business, sending fake invoices or receipts that contain malicious code.

3. Of course, and this is key, employees shopping online should, under no circumstances, repurpose their work-related passwords when signing up at any e-commerce store.

Security Relating to Behavior in the Workplace

Email security and general online security can become problematic over the holiday season. This is not surprising, considering the fact that people are more active online during this period. In addition to the usual antivirus and antimalware installations, business owners need to keep a finger on the pulse of online activity in general. More often than not, employees use their smart devices and computers both for work and personal purposes, as few people can afford both. If the correct security practices are in place, the chances of a breach substantially decrease.

4. Holiday scams have no borders, as globally individuals are being sent fraudulent gift cards from “anonymous” senders labeled “secret admirers.” In addition, coupons that seemingly come from trusted companies continue to lure in individuals with offers that are too good to be true. A few months ago, PCWorld reported on malware spreading across Android devices in text messages that promised free Amazon gift cards but instead delivered spam to everyone on the device’s contact list.

Furthermore, delivered through emails, text messages, and social media posts, these scams are hard to separate from legitimate gift cards or coupons. Encourage employees to stay vigilant and to not click on offers or download any attachments that come from unfamiliar senders. If they believe the gift to be legitimate, encourage them to contact the recipient via the traditional form of communication at his or her trusted email address or phone number, verifying the gift was from them.

5. In some cases, employees tend to do a fair amount of traveling over the holidays. For this reason, it may be a good idea to register employee devices with a tracking system that is able to locate lost or stolen devices, and remotely shut them down as necessary. If a device that is linked to the business network falls into the wrong hands, malicious attacks become a very real threat for the business.

These five tips, whether they seem simple to you or not, are useful to remember. Modifying digital interactions in the workplace by even a small amount can make a world of difference.

Find out how to keep your employees safe this holiday season contact us to learn how.