U.S. national-security officials are urging consumers to make smart cybersecurity choices while shopping over the holidays, such as sticking to reputable retailers and changing default passwords on internet-connected toys.
The Department of Homeland Security launched a public-awareness campaign Tuesday to share security tips for online shoppers about protecting their financial and personal information.
The cyber wing of DHS published informational materials on its website and plans to release additional resources through December, reasoning that public awareness is an important defense against intrusions.
“The holiday season is a prime time for hackers, scammers, and online thieves,” said Christopher Krebs, director of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in a news release. “The good news is you don’t need to be a cybersecurity pro to defend yourself. It’s often the simple things that make a big difference in protecting yourself and your family from cyber threats and scams.”
Consumers are forecast to spend as much as $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics. Separately, security researchers highlighted ways that online scammers are ramping up for the 2019 holiday season, using common but still potentially effective methods.
Some popular techniques include sending phishing emails and creating look-a-like domains that shoppers might mistake for legitimate websites, researchers from Check Point Software Technologies. concluded in research published Tuesday.
Holiday shopping “is where they’re focusing their efforts at this part of the year,” said Omer Dembinsky, a researcher at Check Point, about online scammers.
Shoppers should also be wary of bargains that sound “too good to be true,” according to Baltimore-based cybersecurity company ZeroFOX. The company said this week that researchers identified thousands of cases of scammers trying to entice online shoppers to hand over personal information in exchange for purported sales tied to the holidays or charitable giving.