Two-Way Street: Black Friday Security a Must For Business Owners and Shoppers

Published on November 22, 2021

It’s almost Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You may be prepared to spend. But are you prepared against hackers? On these days, cybersecurity awareness must be practiced not just by shoppers, but businesses, too. Unlike many of us who are probably going to spend time with our families, hackers do NOT have holidays. In fact, hackers are working twice as hard on these days, so you know the threat is double. Not only will customers lose their private data, retailers might end up losing their businesses as well! We may all be pumped up and ready to shop. But how do we deal with security threats? 

Black Friday Security Tips for Retailers 

 Retail businesses are a data gold mine for cyber criminals. The global COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in online sales. Since many stores were closed because of the lockdowns many shoppers are left with no choice but to shop online instead. Americans spent $9 billion online on Black Friday in 2020. That is a 21.6% increase from 2019, according to Adobe Analytics. This large boost in e-commerce sales means several customers handing out credit card information. 

You may think, “Well, I run a small business. I don’t need to run fancy network security.” And that is exactly where you are wrong. Small businesses – the local mom-and-pop shops – are the common victims of hackers. Hackers often prey on them because they know that they often don’t have sophisticated cybersecurity. Computer systems are easier for them to hack. They can also have access to hundreds of credit card information of unsuspecting customers. Your competitors may also hire these hackers to ruin your business. And the worst is that, since you didn’t invest in good cybersecurity, it will be extra difficult for you to track these hackers down.  

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to avoid these. 

  • Make sure to secure your customer data with passwords. They need to be password-protected even when they are on a hard drive or on a mobile device. Make sure that your hard drives are encrypted. Encryption is an extra layer of security for your files. It is used to protect passwords. It scrambles your password, so hackers won’t be able to read it and open your files. This way, even if these devices are stolen, they will be useless to a hacker.   
  • Saving your files to a cloud server. A cloud server can be a website where you can safely store your files. Cloud servers have a high level of security. Nobody, not even the programmers of the website, can access your files. Cloud servers are usually free of charge. But if you want to store large amounts of data, some companies offer larger or even unlimited storage.  
  • Run checkups on your computers. Weeks before Black Friday, you should have already done checkups on your computers, systems, and website. You can hire a data security expert who can run advanced security tools to protect your business. 



Black Friday Security Tips for Shoppers 

Black Friday online shoppers may be distracted by large discounts and ignore cybersecurity. Hackers know this and can trick buyers into going to fake websites and steal their information. This is through a technique called social hacking or social engineering.  

Through social hacking, hackers can pretend to be a popular brand, and send out fake advertisements or announcements that lure unsuspecting shoppers. They will pretend to give out huge discounts or say that you have won something. In exchange for these discounts, they may ask you for some personal details that real brands do not normally ask for, such as your credit card number, social security number, etc.  

Since it is the holiday season, there is a big chance that hackers will launch these attacks. As a shopper, how do you protect yourself from these scams?  

  • Watch out for fake websites. You may receive an email or see a Facebook ad from a popular company like, say, Amazon. They will ask you to click a link. Once you do, you may notice a different website showing on the address bar. They may show “Amaz0n.com” or “Amzn.com.” Also, you may notice that the website itself is not that well-made. Some pictures may be a little blurry or some buttons may not work as expected. If you ever find yourself in this situation, leave the site right away. It’s a hacker luring you into their schemes.   
  •  When buying products, use a credit card instead of a debit card. When you use a credit card, it is easier to track any hacker who may have used it to make fake purchases. Once you have proven that it was not you who bought the items, your bank will give you back your money. If a hacker uses your debit card, it will be easier for them to clear out your personal account. This can make it difficult for you to get your money back.  
  •  Make sure that all your software is up to date. Before you shop online, check if your antivirus or security software is up to date. If your security software is outdated, it will be easy for hackers to secretly access your computer. They will be able to check your passwords or personal information saved. Updates make sure that your computer is safe from new threats and block hackers from using your computer.


Cybersecurity Is a Collaboration 

 With cybercrime getting more advanced, security is not just the responsibility of the consumer or the shopper. It should be an ongoing collaboration and cooperation between the two. They need to have a conscious effort and common sense to protect themselves against hackers. What are other ways to avoid getting hacked? Let us know! 

 Getting ready for the holidays? Make sure that you have the cyber protection you need. Talk to us by completing the form found by clicking on this page. You may also call us at 800-314-5835 or Email us at [email protected]. Take action today! 

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