10 tips to protect your data on Black Friday

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We’re rapidly approaching the annual shopping blitz of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – but for customers looking for a bargain online, there are more serious perils to be aware of than a favourite brand selling out of your size.

Cyber criminals will also be searching for online deals – preying on customers with fraudulent phishing emails, scams, and fake apps and websites.

Falling for these tricks can result in serious data breaches that will put your personal and financial information at risk. So, to help you have the most successful – and secure – Black Friday shopping experience, here are 10 tips to follow:

1. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.

Whether it’s in an email, a banner ad, or search results – if you see a promotional offer that seems unbelievable, be very careful. Finding an item from an unrecognised vendor, with the best price, and immediate shipping is a big red flag.

Limit your online shopping to websites of retailers that you recognise and trust. Look for promotions through your favourite stores’ social media feeds, catalogues or websites and do your research before buying.

2. Keep an eye out for signs of security.

Always look for the padlock icon and the https:// at the beginning of a website address. These indicate that any interaction between you and the site is encrypted, so that any personal data you send can’t be read by anyone trying to intercept.

3. Avoid public Wi-Fi when making purchases.

Hackers often lurk on public Wi-Fi networks, intercepting traffic or redirecting customers to fake e-commerce websites – always use a trusted, secure network when shopping.

Remember to also take care when entering card details, passwords or personal information in a public space – anyone could look over your shoulder and steal your data that way.

4. When in doubt, use your mobile carrier’s network.

If you need to make a purchase when not on a secure Wi-Fi location, use your mobile carrier’s network instead for a private and secure internet connection you can trust.

5. Stay safe with secure payment services.

When purchasing for items online, use secure payment services like PayPal, Apple Pay or Android Pay. Never use a debit or credit card that is linked to your primary bank account.

When using a credit card, make sure your card has a low spending limit to reduce the extent of fraud.

6. Beware email offers.

Phishing attacks via email are becoming increasingly sophisticated and much more difficult to spot. Cybercriminals can now create elaborate campaigns that look like those of a trusted brand, but actually redirect you to a fake site or app.

To avoid putting your data at risk, open a browser and search for the website address and promotion yourself.

7. Don’t over-share.

If you’re not purchasing regularly from a certain retailer, don’t overshare your personal data. Chose to checkout as a guest rather than creating an account.

Limiting the number of retailers storing your personal data will help reduce your risk of being affected by a cyber security breach.

8. Do the two-step.

When creating an account with an online retailer, always protect your details with two-step authentication when possible. This ensures that in addition to a standard password log-in, the retailer will also text or email you with a code to further verify your identity.

9. Know where your money is going.

Regularly review your bank and credit card statements to ensure your finances have not been breached. If your bank offers the ability, choose to “opt-in” to mobile or email notifications of any transactions that are made. If something in your transaction history seems off, call your bank immediately.

10. Don’t skip software updates.

Software updates are vital to keeping cyber attacks at bay, so be sure to keep your devices and apps up-to-date, with security software such as ESET Internet Security for Windows or ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac installed and operational.

Of course, cyber security threats don't stop once Black Friday is over – Christmas and January sales also present an increased risk of data breaches.


To provide advanced protection for everyday web users and shopping enthusiasts alike, we’re offering $30 off Internet Security – so you can enjoy the sales and shop with confidence, knowing your data is protected.