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A Reminder to Prevent Phishing this Holiday Season

A Reminder to Prevent Phishing this Holiday Season

Don’t blink because you’ll definitely miss that 2018 is about to end. How did that even happen? One moment we were reeling about Spider-Man’s death in Infinity War, the next we’re busy stuffing the turkey. And just like that, we’re entering the holiday season, or as businesses call it, the biggest shopping season in the world. You know who else are pumped? Hackers and fraudsters.

Considering how shopping has become more digital these days, it’s not surprising that hackers will take advantage of online shoppers. Just last year, the number of cyberattacks during the holiday season increased by 57.5%. "Based on existing precedent, we expect the same trend to continue, if not increase, during the 2018 holiday shopping season," Tom Kellermann, Carbon Black's chief cybersecurity officer said regarding their study

Phishing campaigns have started popping out as hackers gun for your information, banking credentials, and even your holiday orders. Be smart about shopping online with these helpful tips.

Watch out for those phishing emails with broken English. Here’s a helpful tip because hackers can’t seem to be bothered in correcting their grammar. A lot of phishing emails contain words and sentences that a competent company will never place on their marketing materials. Just take a look at this recent Spotify scam that’s currently targeting Apple ID credentials. Basically, just read your emails carefully. 

Don’t do business with unprotected or HTTP websites. Google recently put down the hammer on HTTP websites as they began marking them as “Not Secure.” Just a few months ago, Google also started giving this treatment to websites protected by Symantec SSL certificates. So these untrusted websites shouldn’t be too hard to miss. Just look out for the “Not Secure” indicator before you add anything to your cart.

Never click a random link or download an attachment from an unknown sender. Email phishing scams are notorious for tricking victims into clicking or downloading a compromised link or file. As a general rule, don’t open any suspicious-looking URLs, attachments, or anything if you don’t recognize the email sender. Even when you vaguely recognize the sender, don’t let your guard down and stay alert.

When in doubt, delete that email! If you received an email from a company you’ve never even heard of, don’t risk opening it. Delete suspicious emails immediately! Did “Amazon” sent you an order confirmation for a product you never ordered? Delete! “Apple” telling you that your imaginary iPad had been compromised? Delete! Unknown companies telling you you’ve won something? Delete!

Look for security indicators on the website you want to buy from. Trusted online shopping stores should have SSL/TLS Certificates on their websites. You see the green address bar and the padlock icon on the address bar? Those are security indicators signifying that the website you’re visiting is secured and any data you give to them will be kept secret. Look for that “Secure” indicator too, that helps.

Verify the identity of the sender before replying to it. Do this by looking for the email signature of the sender. Company representatives usually sign their emails with S/MIME Certificates to authenticate their identity to their customers. Only legitimate organizations can avail of this service, so it’s a safe bet that if an email doesn’t have an email signature, it’s from someone not associated with a trusted brand.

Phishing will only become a problem if you let it be. Always stay vigilant because hackers can strike any day of the year. If you’re looking to improve your company’s online security this season, visit GlobalSign at our official website

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