Stay Safe Shopping Online This Holiday Season

Christmas is quickly approaching and that means Black Friday and Cyber Monday will soon be upon us with their unbelievable must have sales. As more and more people do their holiday shopping online it is important to stay safe.

Here are my top 5 security hints for shopping safely online:

Update your security software and other applications.
Keeping the software on your system up-to-date is an important part of keeping your system safe and secure.   I recommend that everyone runs Secunia PSI on their pc.  It automatically finds all of you outdated software and updates it for you.  

Don’t shop online with your debit card.
If you have a problem with a purchase or the card number gets stolen your debit card is vulnerable because it is linked to your bank account and you don’t want to have to spend the time you could be watching  A Christmas Story fighting with your bank to get your money back in your account.

Watch out for phishing emails.
Watch out for “special deal emails" you receive that appear to be from legitimate retailers. Look for poor grammar or misspellings in the email and URLs that take you to places other than the retailer’s website. If in doubt go directly to the retailer’s website and check for the deal there.

Use OpenDNS.
Using OpenDNS is a great way to make sure your PC doesn’t end up on a site that might steal your passwords or credit card number.  It does this by being the “GPS” for your browser and makes sure your computer doesn’t end up in a neighborhood it shouldn’t.

Different passwords for every website.  
This is the most important and one of the hardest things you can do to keep safe online. Every website is going to get hacked sooner or later and a great way to limit the damage done to you is by never having the same password on two websites.  If you can’t remember all the passwords write them on a notepad and keep it with you.   When hackers hack a website and find a usernames and passwords the first thing they do is try to on as many popular websites as possible.  If your passwords don’t match they will move along and try the next one on the list.

Or, you could always leave your house and go shopping at a real store over the holiday season:

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