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By Jurgen Sorton, senior product manager for security at Vox 

1.    Phishing on the increase: Cybercriminals will increase their phishing attempts leading up to Black Friday. Be on the lookout for malicious links sent to you via email. The main intention is to trick you to click on a link that results in the network getting infected and to lure you into divulging confidential information of a personal and business nature. Perpetrators use social engineering to write phishing emails that would fool many, as the content is normally well written and seems legitimate. Shop on websites that you are familiar with and pay close attention to the website address as criminals set up websites that look almost exactly like the official websites, but the addresses differ slightly. If you share your details online on one of these fake websites, criminals will use this information for fraudulent activities.

2.    Secure shopping: Ensure that the online shopping platform has enabled security, especially during the checkout process. Look for “https” in the address bar, instead of “http”. If the online shopping platform supports third-party secure payment tools, you might want to consider making use of one like PayPal or PayFast instead of entering your credit card details directly.

3.    Passwords: Bad passwords are easily compromised but making use of the same bad password for multiple sites compounds the issue. Enabling complexity by using special characters like “$” is no longer good enough. If you want to increase your online security posture, create long passwords unique to each website. Making use of passphrases is an easy way to create long passwords by using several clever passphrases that are catchy and easy to remember.

4.    Secure public Wi-Fi: Most retailers are now introducing free Wi-Fi for your convenience. Cyber criminals will take the opportunity to introduce rogue Wi-Fi hotspots to entice consumers. Make sure you are connecting to the retailer’s legitimate Wi-Fi hotspot. You can also make use of VPN solutions to encrypt your traffic making it more difficult for cyber criminals to collect your sensitive data.

5.    Shopping from a smartphone or tablet: Doing your Black Friday shopping via your tablet or smartphone is very convenient. If you are using a tablet or smartphone to shop online, make sure you use the shopping platform’s trusted application downloaded from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store instead of the browser on your phone.