For many shoppers, especially the generation of current college students, who much prefer to shop online, holiday shopping no longer conjures up terrifying thoughts of long lines and crowded stores. This new shopping demographic has spawned a new retail holiday: Cyber Monday.
The weeks between Thanksgiving and late December account for as much as 80 percent of annual online sales for some retailers. Not surprisingly, those weeks are also the most active time of year for hackers. You can be sure that students and employees at your university will be shopping online, and they may be using university-owned devices on personal or public unsecured networks. Students will also be shopping with their personal devices on university networks. So how can you keep those networks safe?
For starters, make sure your antivirus software is updated, because scammers take advantage of the surge in web traffic to attack unwitting users. Entering personal information at the point of sale seems safe to regular online shoppers, but scammers can take advantage of this trust. In general, training and policy is the best way to keep your users happy and your network safe.
As Eric Savitz of Forbes noted, people, not technology, are usually the weakest link in your college’s security:
Technology alone isn’t enough to protect an organization. People are a critical part of the security process as they can be misled by criminals to make mistakes that lead to malware infections that put themselves and their companies at risk. Many organizations simply don’t pay enough attention to the involvement of users, when, in fact, employees are a critical part of the security process – but can also be the weakest link. A good way to raise security awareness among users is to involve them in the security process and empower them to prevent and remediate security incidents in real-time.
Read The Grinch Goes Digital: Why Cyber Monday Is Hacker Heaven on Forbes.
The infographic below offers safety tips for consumers that could be very useful for anyone supported by your IT program.