With millions of Australians expected to take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, cybersecurity expert Mark Gorrie warns it’s a case of buyer beware, particularly if you are making purchases on public wifi.
Gorrie says checking financial details and entering banking information on unsecured networks makes it incredibly easy for a cybercriminal to access your data.
Recent research commissioned by NortonLifeLock has shown that 1 in 3 Australians (34 per cent) used their credit or debit card to pay for something online, with millennials being the biggest age group to do so.
But what if using these networks exposed your whole identity for hackers to snatch up?
Here are Gorrie’s tips for staying protected when accessing public Wi-Fi networks for personal use.
Protect against cybercriminals via the latest software updates.
Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new threats, so you need to be conscientious about ensuring all your operating systems and apps are up to date with the latest versions and patches to help address any security vulnerabilities that could expose you to a cyberattack.
Avoid opening suspicious links
Phishing scams may be appear to be from a legitimate source such as a large retailer offering a great deal. Best advice: don’t open it. The consequences of opening a suspicious link, which could result in malicious software on your device, include theft of your credentials, and your personal information being sold on the dark web.
Use a VPN
A VPN will ensure all data transmitted during your online sessions is encrypted. For example Norton360 can secure your private information on PCs, Macs or a mobile device.
Pay attention to the network you’re joining. Cyber criminals set up rogue hotspots with names that are close to that of the legitimate network you may be trying to connect to.
Keep it personal at home
Do not access sensitive information or online accounts that contain such data if you’re on public Wi-Fi.
Turn off any auto-connect settings for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on your devices. Also remember to disable file sharing.
Always log out of accounts when you are finished using them.