Every year during the Holiday season stores and manufacturers have countless sales and discounts.  The purchase choices are unlimited around this time of year. I want to cover some precautions and safety recommendations to help protect yourself while shopping online.  Anyone with an email knows that with all the discounts and sales comes a lot of email marketing. Don’t get overwhelmed, there a couple steps we can take to keep you protected from being a victim of malicious activity.

Mass emails, or SPAM, is a popular form of commercial advertising that companies use to reach a lot of users, mostly due to its low cost. That’s not where the threat comes in however, we get so many spam emails they all look the same and, in most cases, we just delete them. But, sometimes during holiday season we would like to see what some companies are offering.  It’s important to remember that emails can be easily manipulated. For example, the appeared sender listed might not actually be the person that sent the email. Also, any links in the email may not take you to the page you assumed you were going.

Phishing is a type of attack where hackers create false emails that intended to trick readers.  Spam can be especially dangerous around this time of year in the form of attachments and links. With a few steps we can verify what is in the email. One way is by cross referencing the email information and sales to the company’s actual web site. Also check the senders address and verify it’s from who you think it is. If the senders address and cross reference checks out, you can probably trust that email. If you think you have a trustworthy email and click the link and it takes you to a web page, it’s very important to verify the URL in the browser, if it does not correspond to the site you are shopping on, I would close out of it.

One last quick tip I will suggest is on the web page make sure the connection to the web page is secure. On the left of the browser it’ll let you know if the web page is secure or not. Secure web pages will have a padlock and/or https: in front of the URL.  Hopefully this information help you feel a little more secure doing your shopping. Happy Holidays.

 

Danielle Whitaker Jr – Network Assistant

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