With the holidays quickly approaching, the importance of online safety and awareness is even more important. It’s easy to be overcome by positive holiday feelings and let our guards down as we focus on buying gifts and making others happy.

Holiday shopping: online safety and security awareness

When it comes to holiday shopping online, it’s essential to not forget to use the basic measures you use all year long to defend yourself against the billion dollar underground industry that is responsible for the increasing rates of cybercrime, credit fraud, and identity theft.

Protecting your information starts with limiting potential exposure. There are a number of basic tips you can follow to protect yourself against cyber-attacks, and make yourself and your loved ones more secure.

Internet Safety Tips

Tip 1: Create entirely new and unique passwords for all your accounts. Hackers use powerful computers that can crack a simple password in a matter of seconds. The best passwords are long and strong, and contain extra characters, numbers, and random combinations that can make even the fastest password hacking software take weeks, months, even years to crack it.

Do you have that one ultra strong password that you use over and over? The password itself may be strong, but it is vulnerable if you are using it for multiple accounts. A hacker who happened to discover your password (through a breach like Yahoo or one of the many other corporate data breaches) would now have access to all your other shared accounts. Therefore, it’s much better to have one randomly generated for each individual account.

Tip 2: Protect your unique passwords. The more elaborate and secure the password is, the harder it will be to remember it. A secure password manager is a tool that not only creates and remembers your passwords for you, but also fills them in for you whenever you need them.

Tip 3: Avoid using public Wi-Fi. Unsecure networks like those at cafes, airports and other public places could be monitored or easily hacked. If you must use a public network, it’s important not to exchange any sensitive information over them, like paying bills, making purchases, or logging into confidential accounts. However, if you need to access an account while you’re on the go, consider using a third party virtual private network (VPN) service or your smart device’s cellular hotspot.

Tip 4: Secure Your Cloud Data. Protecting your information stored within an online cloud is a year-round responsibility. Safe guarding your own personal information or your clients’ sensitive data is extremely important, especially when it’s being stored online. Cloud storage accounts can be vulnerable to attack unless you’ve take the necessary precaution to protect it. Cloud encryption software, as such offered by Boxcryptor, provides you peace of mind knowing your data is protected. In fact, this holiday season you can take advantage of this special Boxcryptor offer exclusively for Sticky Password users. With the promo code: stickyboxcryptor17, at checkout, you’ll receive a 30% discount towards a one year plan of Boxcryptor Personal- Pro Version. Discount code valid for new customers and is available until Dec 31st 2017.

Tip 5: Review all of your accounts and billing statements for fraudulent charges. Put simply, the only way you’ll notice unauthorized spending is to monitor spending. Although creditors are good at detecting suspicious activity including online credit fraud, spotting identity theft, which is the root of the problem, is much more difficult. If you’ve had your identity stolen in the past, or are looking to prevent it in the future, consider enrolling in an identity theft protection service with active monitoring and layered defense.

Conclusion

While holidays and other emotionally-charged times throughout the year are particularly dangerous for scams and other attacks, security awareness and taking precautions shouldn’t be limited to a few weeks or awareness days each year. Often a simple pause before clicking a link is enough to keep you safe.

Additional habits that are easy to incorporate into your security practices include locking your devices with a PIN code (not all 1’s), and make sure you don’t leave them unattended. Thieves are on the lookout to steal smartphones, tablets, and notebooks from vulnerable individuals who aren’t paying attention. So, don’t make it easy for the bad guys to steal your devices and break into your accounts.

A password manager is the practical way to create and store strong passwords. Sticky Password is the award-winning password manager and form-filler that remembers your passwords and enters them automatically whenever and wherever you need them – on your desktop, smartphone or tablet. It keeps all your passwords in one secure location encrypted by the military-grade AES-256 encryption. Your Master Password will be your key that unlocks your password storage – only you will know what it is!