Cyber Checklist For Safe Online Holiday Shopping

Around the world, people are gearing up for the holiday season in what is bound to be another record-breaking year for online holiday shopping. As supply chain shortages and shipping delays affect retailers everywhere, there’s no denying that online holiday shopping will look different this year. However, one key reality remains the same: more time online means more opportunities for cybercriminals to attack.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every business, retailer, and consumer has opted to shop online for the holiday season. As consumers browse online stores for gifts and decorations, retailers are preparing their websites for an influx of visitors making it essential to be safe and secure in order to avoid falling victim to hackers.

We compiled a helpful cyber checklist for both retailers and shoppers to follow this holiday season, so you can stay safe on the internet and protect your data.

Cyber Checklist For Retailers And Businesses To Follow

Now more than ever, retailers and businesses are relying on their online presence to survive during the holiday season. As customers adjust their shopping habits and prioritize online shopping, it’s your job to safeguard their information when they visit your site—and keep them coming back for more.

Here’s a cyber checklist you can implement to keep shoppers safe not only during the holiday season, but all year long:

  1. Clean house. Regularly scan and update your business software and applications to prevent infections and hidden malware.
  2. Don’t store what you don't need. Be sure to remove any sensitive customer data (e.g. credit card numbers and bank information) that isn’t necessary for your business.
  3. Reassure visitors. Shoppers want to know they’re safe when they do business with you online. Let them know how seriously you take online security to inspire brand loyalty.
  4. Instill confidence. Secure payment processors and a recognized security logo can boost shoppers’ confidence when they visit your website.
  5. Review and check your systems and web applications. Updating your systems and web applications should be done regularly to ensure maximum performance. This should keep them protected from unwanted malware. Also, be sure to remove any and all applications that aren’t currently in use, too.
  6. Use a CDN. Fifty-three percent of mobile site visitors will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Integrating a content delivery network (CDN) into your website can help increase its performance by speeding it up and ensuring that only legitimate traffic is allowed in.
  7. Display a security trust badge or seal. A trust badge or seal is meant to inspire confidence in potential customers. It lets website visitors know that your page is protected, and that any data shared with you will be collected through secure third-party service providers. Displaying one on your website will also show that your site is regularly tested for security protocols and is clear of vulnerabilities and malware.
  8. Secure your site with an SSL certificate. Sensitive information is exchanged between the server and customer during online transactions, which means having Secure Socket Layer certification (SSL) on your website is essential. The SSL certificate offers consumers security and confidence that their data will be encrypted.

Cyber Checklist For Shoppers To Follow

Hackers can really take the fun out of online shopping, especially during the holiday season. Here’s a cyber checklist with shopping safety tips so you can avoid becoming the next victim of a hackers scheme:

  1. Monitor your credit. Regularly check your credit card statements and credit score for discrepancies or unusual activity, and contact your bank immediately if you see anything strange.
  2. Use secure networks. The first thing you should do when shopping online in public places like airports or cafes is connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs encrypt traffic coming in and out of your device, so no one can steal your data by monitoring your internet activity. Only complete online transactions when you’re connected to a secure Wi-Fi network.
  3. Protect your data. Always make sure you’re browsing a secure website before entering any personal information. Secure websites are configured to mask the data you share (e.g. passwords and financial information), so when shopping on secure sites the risk that your private information will be compromised is significantly reduced. Look for “https” at the beginning of the web address (or the closed padlock) to signify an encrypted website.
  4. Be suspicious of holiday deals and phishing emails. Phishing is when hackers send emails designed to look like they’re from someone else (e.g. a trusted retailer) which actually contain malicious links used to retrieve your personal information. Be sure to check the promotional emails you’re receiving are legitimate before clicking on any links.
  5. Update your passwords. Use random and strong passwords so hackers can’t access your personal information, and change them regularly. Avoid using personal information that a hacker could easily find or guess, and use a complex set of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  6. Don’t save your information. It’s common to save personal and payment information on your favorite retailer’s website to streamline the checkout process—but this isn't always safe practice. Never save payment information online unless it’s required for a recurring payment, and opt to autofill your information instead.

Partner With The Leader In Website Security

Don’t let cyber criminals take advantage of your customers this holiday season. Partner with SiteLock today and we can help you and your customers' websites stay safe and secure during this holiday and beyond.

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