‘Sleigh’ Holiday Shopping by Protecting Your Online Security
And just like that, the holiday shopping season is among us! Like consumers everywhere, you may be trying to plan ahead when it comes to picking out gifts for your friends and family, scouring far and wide to cross items off your list. This year, however, will likely be different than past holiday shopping seasons.
While more than 124 million consumers shopped in-store during the 2019 holiday shopping weekend, findings from McAfee’s 2020 Holiday Season: State of Today’s Digital e-Shopper survey revealed that consumers plan to do more shopping online – and earlier – this holiday season. But how will this increase in online activity impact users’ digital lives?
Let’s explore what this online shopping trend means for consumer security this holiday shopping season.
Gearing Up For Shopping Season? So Are Holiday Hackers
The onset of the global health emergency caused users everywhere to live, work, play, and buy through their devices – maybe more than ever before. McAfee’s survey shows that general shopping activity has increased, with 49% of respondents stating they are buying online more since the onset of COVID-19. As one could predict, researchers expect these online shopping habits to bleed into the holiday shopping season. In fact, 36% of Americans note that they plan on using digital links to give gifts and spread cheer this year. However, this increase in online activity doesn’t exactly mean an increase in online safety.
Hackers love to take advantage of online trends, so it’s no surprise that they see an increase in online activity as more opportunities to spread threats. In fact, McAfee Labs observed an almost 12% increase in online threats per minute in Q2 2020 compared to the previous quarter.
Increased online activity serves as the perfect opportunity for hackers to interrupt consumers’ merriment and spread malicious misdeeds. And 36% of consumers noted that their online buying habits will increase this holiday season, even though they are aware of cyber risks. This lack of concern is troublesome, especially as hackers get stealthier in how they scam consumers. Take Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts, for example. Forty-three percent of survey respondents admitted to not checking the authenticity of these so-called deals when going through their emails and text messages. By not taking proper security precautions, users potentially open themselves up to a blizzard of cyberthreats.
Spread Holiday Cheer Without Fear
While these survey results confirm that cyber-grinches are using their tricks to interrupt the merriment, that doesn’t mean consumers can’t still have a holly, jolly shopping experience. By taking the necessary steps to protect themselves – and their loved ones – this holiday season, consumers can continue to live their digital lives with confidence. To help ensure hackers don’t put a damper on your festive celebrations, follow these security tips:
Employ multi-factor authentication
Two or multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security, as it requires multiple forms of verification. This reduces the risk of successful impersonation by hackers.
Go directly to the source
Instead of clicking on a link in an email or text message, it’s always best to check directly with the source to verify a Black Friday or Cyber Monday offer or track a package’s shipment.
Browse with caution
Use a comprehensive security solution, like McAfee Total Protection, which can help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help identify malicious websites.
Protect your identity
Hackers often use consumers’ personally identifiable information to make fraudulent purchases – a trick that would certainly interrupt a holiday shopping spree. A solution like McAfee Identity Theft Protection takes a proactive approach to help protect identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep identities personal and secure.