Cyber Monday is here and with it, comes cyber risks. In general, online shopping is raising more security concerns this year, because online browsing continues to become more diverse. With smart phones and tablets, the online channel grown much further past just desktop computers. To make matters more complicated, more consumers are mixing personal mobile use with business with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. Holiday cyber shopping risks are major concerns for both individuals and businesses.

The BYOD trend is changing the way companies address user behavior and risk with online shopping and other phone usage. Ken Vander Wal, international president of ISACA, says most organizations have done little to address BYOD security risks in their policies and procedures. “The line between corporate-owned devices and personal devices is blurring and enterprises may not have much control over the data that gets saved on these mobile devices.” Employees are the weakest link in the cyber security chain. Without proper policies, controls, and awareness training, your employees could be inviting in your next big cyber attack.

During Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season, beware of e-mails advertising one-day-only promotions for recognized and unrecognized brands or websites. Hackers often use the hot items of the season to lure bargain hunters into providing credit card information. Especially beware of promotions for Disney + and other streaming apps, Nintendo Switch and Xbox deals, and travel discounts this holiday season.

Additional security tips to remember while shopping online:

SSL example shown when clicking the little lock button next to the URL in your browser

Log on directly to official websites for businesses identified in e-mail campaigns, rather than clicking on links.

Update anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

Shop on websites with Secure Socket Layer security. (see picture to left)

Don’t buy anything with a debit card.

Never give out your Social Security number.

Use strong passwords, which contain at least eight characters (and the more characters, the stronger the password) that are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

Cyber threats are real threats

Cyber threats to your business are not going away. There are so many ways that hackers can work behind the scenes without you even knowing they are there. The only way to reduce your cyber threat risk is to utilize a combination of tools and employee awareness training. The more beware you are, the less likely you are to fall victim to a cyber attack.