Winter Storm Stella – A Security Guy’s Perspective on Online Shopping Security Tips

As March quickly rolled into action, I like many of my Northeast neighbors was hoping Staten Island Chuck was right – i.e. that we’d see an early Spring.

Then reality set in.

Which brings us to Stella.  Meteorologists are now calling for over a foot of snow to hit the Northeast region starting Monday night and lasting until Wednesday afternoon, leaving many of you snowed in at home and consequently inclined to do some online shopping. So we at GreyCastle Security felt obliged to offer up some safe browsing and online shopping tips:

  1. Don’t store passwords and credit card information in the browser. This seems self-explanatory, but many users will use this technique so they do not have to remember all of their passwords. At GreyCastle Security we use a methodology that you can leverage across various websites that will keep your information protected with a strong, reliable password. 
  1. Use recognized and trusted websites. Remember basic domain name structures. In case you are unfamiliar, it is the name of the website follow by an extension, most commonly, .com (Ex. amazon.com). If you happen to stumble across a domain name of www.amazon.com.com, your situational awareness should kick-in and tell you to avoid that suspicious looking URL.

Other key areas to look for when on the web are:

  • Look for the HTTPS in the link, and the lock icon in the browser. 

https-lock-icon

  • Use a credit card rather than a debit card for online purchases. 
  • Avoid clicking on advertisements on websites, instead go directly to the website by typing it into the browser. 
  • Secure your accounts with long and strong passwords. 
  • Avoid using public WiFi to carry out financial or shopping transactions.  

In today’s everything-is-online world, we are constantly faced with a choice between security and convenience. Follow these tips, and choose security.

Happy shopping… or if you’re like us at GreyCastle Security and will actually be doing your job tomorrow, DO IT FROM HOME!

 

About the Author: Gary Braglia

Gary Braglia is a Security Specialist at GreyCastle Security with over 10 years of experience as an IT professional. Gary began his career as an application developer with the NYS Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), is a graduate of SUNY Albany with a Master’s degree in Information Science (M.S.I.S.) and the owner of industry-recognized certifications including Tenable Certified Network Auditor (TCNA) and CompTIA Security+.

At GreyCastle, Gary consults with clients in a wide range of security domains, including penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, security assessments, network security, application security and policy development.