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Three ways to sharpen your cyber security during the holiday period

For many Canadians, the busiest part of the holidays are over: the gifts have been handed out, the feasts have been served, and the awkward conversations with your relatives have been had. And now it’s Boxing Week — and this year, you’ll likely spend less of it travelling and have more downtime than usual. So what do you do with it?

a person wearing a festive sweater with reindeer on it and a Santa hat, holding a laptop and giving a thumbs up, against a background of colourful padlocks

Our recommendation? Take this time to make sure you’re as cyber safe as possible heading into the new year. Here are some ways you can start.

Secure your new devices

Some great new tech came out this year. If you managed to get your hands on a new device, make sure you’re not taking it for granted.

Take these simple steps to keep new devices secure:

  • First, make sure your device (and any accounts connected to it) are secured with complex and unique passwords or passphrases. If keeping track of all that sounds like a lot, you might want to look into downloading a password manager to securely store your login information for easy access. Just be sure to protect the password manager with a complex and unique password or passphrase as well.
  • Next, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever it’s available — again, on your device and any of its linked accounts. The number of apps, devices and websites offering MFA these days might surprise you.
  • And if you have more downtime than you know what to do with, take some of it to go through the settings on your device. Not only is it a great way to familiarize yourself with your new device’s security features, it’s also a good opportunity to customize the way your device works and make it truly yours.

Learn to shop online safely

If you didn’t get the gift you wanted this season, Boxing Week sales are your best friend. But if you don’t shop them safely, you might have buyer’s remorse that’ll stick around for a while.
Before you check out the Boxing Week deals online, read up on how you can avoid online shopping scams. Simple things like checking for privacy and return policies, reading reviews of the retailer and being cautious about the information you provide can go a long way in making sure your shopping experience is a good one.

Knowing how to spot a spoofed website can also help you stay safe while shopping. Things like flashing images, spammy ads and links that don’t send you to where they should are all signs you need to get out of there.

Read up on cyber security best practices

In the mood to read, but avoiding that celebrity biography book you got over the holidays? Then grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate and cozy up by the fireplace for some light reading with us. The Get Cyber Safe blog is a great resource for up-to-date cyber security information, like how to spot and avoid phishing messages, the different threats you can be exposed to, and the many ways you can protect yourself online.

If you’re one of those “wait until the movie comes out” types, we have you covered there, too. We have tons of explainer videos to help you learn more about things like malware and ransomware, creating strong passwords, avoiding phishing and more.

Conclusion

It’s not often we get as much time to relax as we do in the holiday season, so take advantage of it by catching up on things that might pass you by throughout the year — namely, learning how to stay secure online. That way, when the New Year kicks off into full busy mode again, you’ll have your devices securely by your side to help you out.

 

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