Department of Homeland Security Offers Tips For Secure Online Shopping This Holiday Season

The U.S. Secret Service and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, (both are under the oversight of The Department of Homeland Security) are offering their annual tips for staying secure online this holiday season. With U.S. retail e-commerce spending expected to top $135 billion this season, online criminals will be looking to take advantage of unprepared consumers and businesses alike.

Tips For The Consumer

  • Keep operating systems and antivirus software up-to-date.
  • Change passwords for online retailers regularly, and take advantage of multi-factor authentication if available.
  • Use credit cards online instead of debit cards – credit cards typically offer better fraud protection to the consumer.
  • Never shop online using public wifi.
  • Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links from senders you do not recognize.
  • When shopping from your phone, use only apps from trusted businesses, and only download apps from your device’s designated app store.
  • As always, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

For The Online Merchant Or Business

In addition to utilizing the above recommendations for the consumer, be sure to:

  • Segregate your payment system processing from other network applications such as email
    and non-payment system related processes.
  • Use firewalls and properly configured and monitored intrusion prevention and/or detection system for added defense of your network.
  • Remote access into your network should be limited, secured and monitored for unusual activity.
  • Utilize Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) protocols for your online
    transactions. This includes encrypting (SSL encryption) your customer’s payment card data whether it is being stored, processed or transmitted. In addition, verification of the cardholder’s address and requiring the Card Verification Value 2 (CVV2) code (3 or 4 digit number on the front or back of the card) can help authenticate the transaction and validate the cardholder and account.

Online holiday shopping is fun and convenient –– as long as you don’t put yourself or your business at risk! For more information about keeping your information secure, call us at 678-389-6200 or contact us online