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The holiday season is officially here! While this time of the year is typically associated with spending time with loved ones, vacation time away from school or work, or tinkering with newly gifted gadgets & devices, the threat of cybercrime still lingers. Being aware of potential risks and building good online safety habits will go a long way in helping keep you safe from cyber threats during this holiday season.

With online shopping being seen as a convenience during this time of the year, it’s no surprise that eMarketer is reporting that “holiday ecommerce spending will rise 13.2%, more than three times the rate of total retail spending growth.” That means more time spent online, more links clicked, more sites visited…

And more opportunity to potentially be a victim of a cyber attack.

To combat this, here are a few tips that you can apply for safer online shopping:

  • Shop on sites you are familiar with and have shopped with before. If you do shop with a new retailer, be sure to research it carefully. Also, watch out for fake shopping apps.
  • Make sure the site you are shopping with is secure. You will be able to tell by seeing a closed padlock in the address bar, or a URL beginning with https:// instead of http://.
  • Be aware of phishing scams via emails, text messages, or posts and don’t click on any links. If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Use a credit card over a debit card. This gives you more buyer protection in the event of a dispute. Additionally, take that extra step in monitoring your account and review all transactions.
  • Keep your software up to date, from the latest OS on your devices, web browser, and antivirus software. This will help reduce risk of infection from malware.

Keeping you and your family safe while shopping online isn’t the only thing you should be aware of. If you’re one of the many who tend to host family and friends during the holidays, its likely you already know that additional connected devices will enter your home and find its way to your network. While it may seem harmless to allow guests on your main network, it can do more harm in more ways that you can imagine. Once your guest has logged onto your network, it’s safe to say you aren’t monitoring everything they’re doing online. In the event their device is already infected, or they accidentally download a malicious program while on your network, there is a chance your local network and all of the devices connected becomes exposed.

An easy way to help combat this is to set up a Guest WiFi network. A guest network essentially creates a separate access point on your router so that your guests can still access the Internet, but not your main network and all its data.

If your holiday wish list consists of smart lighting, a voice assistant, security cameras, or a smart TV, take note—smart home devices can potentially become a vulnerability risk if those devices aren’t protected. In recent news, the FBI issued a warning that smart TVs, because connected to the internet, may be a security vulnerability risks, partly because manufacturers often don’t put security as a priority. While attacks and exploits against smart TVs are rare, the FBI says it is possible for an unsecured TV to provide an easy way in the backdoor through your router.

While there are different measures you can take to help keep your network safe, adding cyber threat protection to your network is essential. Enter NETGEAR Armor! With NETGEAR Armor, you get advanced, best-in-class protection for your network and all of your connected devices. By leveraging Bitdefender Total Security, NETGEAR Armor ensures your devices stay protected both when you’re at home as well as when you’re away from your home network.

Some of the NETGEAR Armor features that will help keep you safe during the Holidays:

Safe Surfing & Dynamic URL Blocking

NETGEAR Armor actively safeguards your network from cyber threats such as viruses, spyware, hackers, spam, malware, and more. Through secure browsing, Armor helps block known malicious sites and applications, keeping you safe from phishing, fraud, and ransomware.

Intelligent Device Management & Alerts

Anytime a device joins your home WiFi, you’ll automatically receive an alert and can take appropriate action. You’re able to control which devices are able to connect to your network and block any unknown devices. For the devices connected to your network, Armor will protect those devices and notify you whenever threats happen to be blocked.

Vulnerability Assessment

With regular scans, NETGEAR Armor is able to identify network flaws and vulnerabilities found on connected devices that can lead to remote unauthorized access, data theft, or malicious attacks. These scans also check for password strength, firmware version, and any weakness that can provide easy access to your entire home network. A detailed weekly report provides you with tips on how to address and secure your network, based on any vulnerabilities detected.

Endpoint Protection

Whether you’re on your home network or away, Bitdefender Total Security keeps all of your devices secure against all cyber threats, including viruses, Trojans, spyware, ransomware and more. This award-winning protection provides coverage for an unlimited number of devices under a single subscription and is available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, & Android devices.

Recommendations

Receive Recommendations to increase your Protection Level. Recommendations can include creating a guest WiFi password, enabling 2-factor authentication, or installing Bitdefender Security for on-the-go protection.

 

For more information about NETGEAR Armor, please visit: https://www.netgear.com/landings/armor/

Dustin Villaruz
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