Shopping centers this time of year can be crazy. Carols blaring, aisles jam-packed with frantic shoppers, and that one shopping cart with the wheel that always jams is sure to put a damper on holiday spirits. Online shopping allow us to avoid the crowds and chaos of in-store options – and cyber hackers know it. As you plug personal information into the web this month, follow these tips from MBT Bank to ensure a safe experience on your mobile device:
- Enable the great ‘wall: Your computer and digital device have all kinds of ways to block attacks you don’t even know are happening. Most hardware comes with firewalls pre-installed, but you can purchase extra software packages for maximum protection and peace of mind. Read up on the type of protection that comes with your original device, and double check that settings are running and prepared for battle.
- Secure your connection: Lending your neighbor a cup of sugar is one thing, but sharing a Wi-Fi connection is pushing it. As a rule, don’t let non-residents tag team your home’s internet connection. Not only does it slow your bandwidth, but it makes it easier for others to sleuth around your computer. If you’re using a public access Wi-Fi, keep your internet use to information searches rather than transactions for the same reason.
- Get cryptic: Birthdays, Social Security numbers and phone numbers are easy to remember – but they’re even easier to hack. A solid password should contain upper and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and special characters when allowed. Make sure to mix up username-password combinations, too. If one account is compromised, you don’t want greedy hands to have access to all account as well.
- Avoid PDA: Public Displays and Access on computers at libraries and kiosks are handy in a pinch, but don’t rely on them for major personal use. You’re at the hands of the third party who owns the device, and it’s not guaranteed that their firewalls are activated or their software secured. If you can help it, don’t input personal information, even if on a secured site, as you never know the activities of users before and after you.
- Cover your everything: Most mobile devices nowadays are miniature computers that happen to make phone calls. Use the same precautions with phones and tablets that you would with a computer, and enable a password lock for your device in the event of left or loss.
Don’t let identity theft pull the plug on your holiday cheer. If you have questions or concerns about online shopping, let the experts at MBT Bank lend a hand!