With Cyber Monday and Cyber Week Just Around the Corner, Vyve Broadband Offers Oklahomans Tips for Staying Safe Online
On a typical day, at any point during the year, thousands of Oklahomans will find themselves shopping online, banking via the Internet, making travel arrangements on sites like Travelocity, and connecting with friends and family through social media.
However, Monday, Dec. 1 — and the week that follows — are anything but “typical” days since they mark the arrival of Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Week, when more than 100 million Americans, and a large percentage of Oklahomans, will start hunting online for the best holiday deals.
On Cyber Monday 2013, more than $2.2 billion worth of online purchases were made nationally, and those numbers are expected to climb in 2014. And while the explosion of online shopping on Cyber Monday and during Cyber Week means there’s considerably less time spent standing in line at the mall and waiting in traffic, it also means that Oklahoma residents will be increasingly vulnerable to cyber fraud, online security breaches and computer viruses, which are all prevalent during the holidays.
“Online holiday shopping is an amazingly convenient and even fun way to way to quickly and easily cruise through your holiday gift list, and social media is a very popular way to share your holiday cheer,” says Dave Harwood, system manager in Oklahoma for Vyve Broadband. “But it’s extremely important to be vigilant and cautious when surfing the Internet and using social media networks during the holiday season.
“Sadly, there are people out there looking to take advantage of you. Fortunately, there are some very easy things that folks can do to ensure that their online holiday experience is a safe and positive one,” Harwood says.
Vyve Broadband, which has customers across nine states — including Oklahoma — using its high-speed Internet service, encourages online shoppers to keep these safety tips in mind during Cyber Week and throughout the rest of the year:
Make sure your passwords actually provide protection. Don’t choose a common password. Easy-to-guess passwords, like “123456” or “password01,” offer very little protection for your identity and your information. Make passwords uniquely personal, such as the name of your favorite sports team plus your favorite number, or your favorite teacher’s name.
Limit access to personal information on social media. Many cyber criminals go straight to social media sites to access personal information that most people would never share anywhere else. Be sure to update the privacy settings on your social networking pages so that only family, friends and other followers who you personally know can see your content.
If a deal looks too good to be true, it just might be. When shopping online, everyone is looking to take advantage of discount opportunities. However, beware of overly great deals. Many times these are links for businesses that aren’t credible (or even real) and may be fraudulent. And sometimes these links have viruses. Always be sure you’re opening a safe and credible link, and if something looks suspicious, it’s best to avoid it.
Update your security. Make sure your computer has the latest security software to protect your computer against attack from social media hackers, viruses, spyware and other Internet threats.