With the meretricious ballyhoo and bargains galore of Black Friday now just three days away, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has published its own advice for safer holiday shopping. The recommendations are organized into three main categories, and they're in substantial agreement with the counsel the UK's National Cyber Security Centre has offered:
- "Check Your Devices." Keep software up-to-date, make strong passwords, and use multifactor authentication.
- "Only Shop Through Trusted Sources." This one begins with an appeal to common sense: "You wouldn’t go into a store with boarded up windows and without signage – the same rules apply online. If it looks suspicious, something's probably not right."
- "Use Safe Methods for Purchases." Credit cards are safer than debit cards, and by all means do check your paycard statements for evidence of purchases you didn't make.
Many other experts are offering similar advice. We note a useful reminder from the University of Missouri: apply the same care you'd use in your online shopping to your charitable donations. Be good-hearted and generous, but careful, too: as simple as doves, but as wise as serpents.