Black Friday is almost here. Stay alert online.

Read our 7 cyber security tips to help keep you and your data safe.

1) Public WiFi hotspots are a ‘breeding ground’ for hackers.

Never use an unsecured, public wireless network to download or transfer sensitive information. Free WiFi may seem convenient to complete a quick, online purchase or transfer money, however you don’t know what security is in place to protect you from the cyber criminals accessing your confidential data.

2) Keep an eye out for secure HTTPS e-commerce sites.

HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is the secure version of HTTP. All HTTP sites have to have a valid SSL certificate. When a site displays the following prefix https://www… , it means that all data is securely encrypted. HTTP alone allows hackers to view the plain text version of your data.

3) Bargains are always great – just be careful about how realistic an offer is!

All Black Friday deals will not be legitimate. Fake ads and fake websites are set up to entice online users to enter card details. Once these details have been submitted, the cyber criminals can use your information for identity theft or to sell onto third parties.

Stay vigilant. Carefully consider the deal you are looking at and decide for yourself whether it is in fact too good to be true.

4) Take ownership of your passwords.

Don’t be lazy and use the same password for each site. Use a different password and ensure the difficulty and length meets the criteria. Never auto-save your passwords on a site and store them in a place that only you can access.

5) ‘Blindly’ clicking on links is a big ‘no-no’ .

Phishing is one of the most common tools used by the cyber criminal industry to lull users into a false sense of security, by sending emails which appear familiar but enclose links which when clicked give the criminals access to your data. Thoroughly check each part of the email and question its authenticity before any action is taken.

6) Only give the bare necessities.

New e-commerce sites are very quick to encourage individuals to sign up and register as much sensitive information as possible. Stay present about how much of your own personal information you are sharing with these companies.

7) Be aware of false e-commerce apps.

It seems simple, but always download an app from the official app store. Check the small print and reviews. Never download an app unless you are completely sure it is the ‘real deal.’

Bonus tip – Educate, share and encourage your colleagues to think carefully about the ways in which cyber attacks can occur.

Cyber security is an ever present and increasingly important requirement for individuals and business alike. For further cyber security advice and support, email