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Holiday Cybersecurity Tips

The season of giving is here, but it does not mean you should give away your private data to cybercriminals.

The cybersecurity company McAfee reported that 41% of Americans fell victim to email phishing scams in 2019, and 35% fell victim to text phishing. Due to the increase in online activity such as shopping and donations during the holiday season it is important to be vigilant and take the proper steps to stay safe – especially this year, as we have already seen more online activity due to health and safety precautions amidst the pandemic.

Whether you are a shopper or retail store owner – more usage means greater exposure to cyberattacks. Proactively defend yourself against attacks with these holiday cybersecurity tips!


Go straight to the source
Scammers are known to mimic legitimate companies to trick you into clicking on an embedded link that will download malicious software onto your device. Never click on links provided by an email, instead search for the retailer in your browser to find the deal or special item that was advertised in the email. Some of these phishing emails are easy to spot, while others look like they came from a trusted retailer.

Do a URL double-take
What’s the difference between and One of these addresses takes you to the legitimate site, while the other is a malicious link that is about to steal your private data. Far too often scammers replicate URL addresses with such minor changes such as replacing letters with numbers and vice versa that at first glance the address does not appear different from the original. Be sure to look at the URL thoroughly before proceeding.

Protect your credentials
Set-up additional security controls on your credit card and be sure to use your credit card instead of your debit to make purchases online and in-store. Credit cards have greater security and are more likely to alert you if there are irregularities. Cybersecurity experts have suggested using virtual credit cards for one-time use for even greater protection against fraud.

Choose reputable sellers over a good deal
We saw a rise in fake websites during 2020 selling cleaning supplies at incredibly low prices. Usually if a deal looks too good to be true it is. This holiday season be sure to shop at reputable stores that you know you can trust.

Secure online checkout
If you are shopping online and do not see either the padlock icon or HTTPS at the beginning of the URL the website is not secured with encryption. This is like leaving the bank vault unlocked and expecting the money to stay safe inside. Where there is a vulnerability cybercriminals will exploit it.


Update your security systems
Whether you are operating online or in-store, be sure to run updates frequently. This ensures that you are getting the most out of your protection software and have a greater advantage against an attack.

Cybersecurity awareness
Train your staff to spot potential attacks with cybersecurity awareness training. Strengthen your team with cybersecurity training every 4-6 months, communicate new phishing scams and spam, and employ the “zero-trust policy” to establish verification as a habit.

Check-in with your trusted IT team
Today’s technological landscape requires a team that is dedicated to managing your IT systems and maintaining security. Talk to your IT department and be sure that you have a plan in place. Contact RCS today if you have any questions, or if you are looking for a custom IT solution that fits your business.