Nov 22, 05:07 AM

Maybe data, perhaps, means a little bit more.

How the Grinch Stole Your Data

Buy now!
Biggest SALE of the season.
Hurry, it’s almost gone…

The tell-tale signs of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are riddled with exclusivity and immediacy, prompting consumers everywhere to swipe, slide, insert, and scan their way to the best deals.

The Rise of Canadian E-commerce

Black Friday participation is a relatively new tradition for Canadians. The event really rose in popularity in Canada in 2013, at a time when Canadian and U.S. dollars were much closer in value.

Though Canadian e-commerce has evolved at a slower rate than in the United States, they are catching up:

Canadian consumers are catching onto online shopping as domestic and foreign retailers, including many with U.S. roots, make shopping online more attractive. Forrester projects that in 2019, online spending will account for 10% of Canadian retail spending, pulling it nearly equal, on a percentage basis, with the 11% expected in the United States. (Internet Retailer)

In December 2015, just as many shoppers visited a store as a website. That same study determined that the largest percentage (24%) of Canadian consumers utilized 4 separate channels for their holiday shopping experience. Channels include desktop/laptop/tablet search, fliers (print and digital), smartphone search, store visits, and website visits. Technology provides virtually unlimited access to shopping.

Today, the Canadian dollar equals $0.74 U.S. dollars. This devaluing will likely deter Canadians from flooding towards their southern border to spend money in the U.S. “But it does present an opportunity for Canadian retailers to draw Americans north in search of a bargain,” suggests Huffington Post Canada contributor, Jesse Ferreras.

Out with the Old, In with the New

Black Friday has often treaded a fine line between a scramble for holiday deals and frenzied consumer chaos. However, in recent years, the market has shifted.

The biggest shopping day of the year— Black Friday— has been surpassed by an even bigger shopping day: Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the holiday tradition for the contemporary consumer.

Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and the subsequent rise of e-commerce, shoppers are skipping the hectic brick-and-mortar retail frenzy. Instead, consumers are combing the internet for the best cyber deals, clicking “Add to Cart,” and inputting credit card information.

“Add to Cart” with Caution

Now, Cyber Monday is causing a different kind of chaos. Consumers are cashing in their hard-earned dollars and hackers are capitalizing on consumers.

The Telegraph aptly characterizes the weekend shopping bonanza: “Cyber criminals are lurking online making concentrated attempts to target discount-hungry shoppers.” After all, where there’s cash, there are criminals.

But before you take advantage of the holiday deals flooding your inbox, protect yourself.

  1. DON’T use a search engine to find deals. DO go directly to a website you trust.
  2. DON’T immediately click on pop-ups or digital ads. DO install ad blocker software.
  3. DON’T befriend strangers on social media. DO be aware of numerous social media scams.
  4. DON’T click on email attachments, unless from a trusted source. DO delete Cyber Monday emails with attachments.
  5. DON’T use public Wi-Fi to shop. DO utilize a secure, password protected internet connection.
  6. DON’T use debit cards for online shopping. DO use a credit card for online purchases.
  7. DON’T randomly scan QR codes (those black-and-white pixilated boxes). DO be selective in which QR codes you scan, especially in public places.
  8. DON’T include extra personal information when checking out. DO fill required fields only.
  9. DON’T use a one-size-fits-all password. DO create a unique password for each website, especially sensitive accounts.
  10. DON’T be content with single authentication. DO enable two-step verification for sensitive websites and services.
  11. DON’T necessarily create a customer account for checkout. DO check out as a guest whenever possible, so your name, address, and credit card information is not saved.
  12. DON’T ignore unfamiliar charges. DO monitor your bank and credit card statements carefully.
  13. DON’T be careless with your credit. DO monitor your credit report to avoid a stolen identity.

Technology is at the center of the holiday season kickoff. Whether consumers choose to shop at brick-and-mortar retailers on Black Friday or online on Cyber Monday, the best deals are on electronic devices: TVs, tablets, smart watches, smartphones, e-readers, fitness trackers, and accompanying digital accessories. Together, these devices hold all our data, public and private.

The danger doesn’t stop even when the shopping event of the season concludes. Cybersecurity is a concern whenever devices are connected and wherever users navigate the internet. As our technology becomes more interconnected, and the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so do our risks.

For more information about cybersecurity risks, check out our recent cybersecurity blog posts

Category: data loss prevention, helpful hints

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