Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac cybersecurity expert offers tips to keep information safe on Cyber Monday

November 26, 2018

A student types at a laptop at her desk.

Frederick Scholl, associate teaching professor of cybersecurity and director of the cybersecurity program at Quinnipiac, has some important advice for consumers on how they can protect themselves on Cyber Monday — and beyond.

“My motto for online shopping is ‘only the paranoid survive,’” Scholl said. “That is an especially good rule of thumb on Cyber Monday, a day when everyone is in a hurry to get in on the best deals. People who are under stress can make mistakes. I almost spent $1,000 on a flashlight but caught the error just before I clicked. There are also many subtle ways people can be attacked beyond their computers because systems are not perfect and neither are we."

“The key to surviving Cyber Monday is to take responsibility for your own information,” Scholl said. “Privacy data is especially important in this day and age when everyone is tracking everyone and the bad guys are trying to get access to your email address.”

Here are some of Scholl’s tips:

  • For any situation in which you need to submit your credit card — for banking or shopping — take the time to receive a two-factor authenticator, a second layer of security that reconfirms your identity with a user-specific code in addition to a user name and a password. This extra step may add time, but it will make an attacker’s life more difficult and reduce the risk of fraud.
  • When you buy a computer, set up the account as a normal user not an administrator. This will eliminate the risk of attacks.
  • Purchase a password manager. These are very inexpensive and enable the use of very long and difficult passwords.
  • Bad guys always try to attack the weakest link. If you are concerned about your home network, set up a secure firewall.

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