MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s one of the biggest weekends of the year for holiday shopping. And according to Adobe Analytics, shoppers spent $7.4 billion online during Black Friday. And the total is expected to be even higher for Cyber Monday.
Experts say the holiday shopping online is a prime target for hackers. WCCO’s Kate Raddatz talked with Ryan Cloutier, a cybersecurity analyst and consultant, for some “do’s and don’ts” of Cyber Monday shopping. He says while you’re hunting for a bargain, hackers are hunting for your personal information.
“We see a lot of scams around sales, around really really low prices,” he said. “We want to be very thoughtful about the actions we’re taking and we want to slow down a little bit.”
Cloutier recommends paying attention to what links you’re clicking on, and only shopping on reputable websites.
He says a deal that’s too good to be true is a big red flag.
“If it’s 75% off the retail price the chances it’s a scam or counterfeit goods are more than not,” he said.
The Better Business Bureau recommends making sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. This will help avoid non-secure websites and phishing scams.
Experts also recommend using a credit card. If any unknown charges show up later, they can be contested, whereas debit cards don’t have the same protection.
Do you plan on getting someone a smart home device for Christmas? They can be a security risk, too. Cloutier encourages people to turn the mute button on when the device is not in use.
“If you don’t mute it then that microphone is listening all the time,” he said.
That means any personal information you may be discussing could potentially get into the wrong hands by a hacker.
“If it’s on the internet, there’s a better than not chance someone outside could access it,” he said.
Cloutier also recommended a website that will allow you to plug in your email to see if it’s ever been involved in a security breach. If it has, he recommends changing your password.