This holiday season, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) hopes online shoppers will do their part help spread a cup of cyber cheer. Today, CISA launched a series of resources aimed at helping Americans protect themselves when shopping online Remember that hackers are trying to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers by searching for weaknesses in their devices and internet connections or attempting to extract personal and financial information through fake websites and charities.
“At CISA, we are committed to helping Americans better protect themselves online. Everyone plays a role in building national cyber resilience,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “This holiday shopping season, we’re here to provide a few easy steps to prevent you from becoming a victim of cybercrime. Using strong passwords, updating your software, thinking before you click on suspicious links, and turning on multi-factor authentication are the basics of what we call ‘cyber hygiene’ and will significantly improve your online safety to keep your season merry and bright.”
As part of this effort, CISA created a cybersecurity carol called the “Twelve Days of Shopping” to share cyber tips throughout the holiday season. Check CISA’s accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to hear each verse as it is unveiled. Remember, a handful of simple protective measures can keep you safe when shopping or donating online:
- Start with checking your devices: Use strong passwords, update your software, and turn on multi-factor authentication.
- Only shop through trusted sources: Think about how and where you’re making purchases online.
- Recognize phishing scams: Don’t click links or download attachments unless you’re confident where they came from. Never provide your password, personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited email.
- Use safe methods for purchases: Never provide financial information when using public Wi-Fi. And if you can, use a credit card as opposed to a debit card and check your account statements frequently.
During this time of year, it is especially important that all individuals take proactive cybersecurity measures. Yesterday, CISA and the FBI issued an advisory for public and private sector organizations to remain vigilant and take appropriate precautions to reduce their risk to ransomware and other cyberattacks leading up to and during the holiday season.
By applying the resources CISA has provided during the holiday season, you, your friends, and loved ones can be better protected from cybercrimes. For more of CISA’s holiday shopping tips, follow the gingerbread crumbs to cisa.gov/shop-safely.