If you’re planning to shop online, you’ll join 83 percent of Americans who aim to scour the web for deals instead of the malls this holiday — and more than three-quarters will shop exclusively from Amazon. Whether you have plans to give Jim Bezos a holiday bonus this year or you’re hoping to give another retailer a chance, you need to stay safe. While many trustworthy sites will do their best to protect your personal data, you make the last defence. Your final stronghold? The Galaxy in your hand.
This year, if you’re switching out your car keys for your Galaxy S9, you’ll want to read the following cybersecurity tips before you shop from your phone.
- Don’t shop at Starbucks
If the epiphany to shop on your phone strikes only after you arrive at the mall and see the crowds, you may find your way to a Starbucks. Home to delicious treats and, more importantly, free Wi-Fi, it’s a beacon of convenience and relaxation in a chaotic shopping center.
While it would certainly be easy to order your favorite caffeinated beverage and do all your shopping from the bar, it would also be a security risk. The public Wi-Fi offered by retailers like Starbucks is unprotected — meaning you don’t need a password to access its network and neither does anyone else. There’s nothing stopping someone from using this unprotected connection to spy on your phone. With the right computer know-how, a talented person can break into the network and access your device. They could see everything you do on your Galaxy — from the password you use for Instagram to the credit card number you applied to your shopping cart.
Preventing this cyber snooping is easy. You should get your latte to go and shop from home.
- Remember physical security
With Starbucks off limits, you’ll move your mobile shopping back home. Trading a pumpkin spice latte for a beer and maybe a Thanksgiving leftovesr sandwich, you won’t be put out by your relocation. Your phone, on the other hand, might not appreciate the accoutrements of Cyber Monday shopping. If you thought your S9 looked greasy before you multi-tasked shopping and snacking, just wait until you see it with a smear of mayonnaise.
If the thought of whipped oil and egg product on your precious handset makes you feel green around the gills, you’ll want a Galaxy skin wrapped around your phone. The best Galaxy skins create an impervious seal around your S9 or Note, keeping it safe from grease stains and fingerprints alike. Just stick with a skin made from authentic 3M vinyl, like the Galaxy skins available from dbrand. This ultra-thin material adds zero bulk while keeping your phone scratch- and grime-free. It also helps that you can customize cool skins for your Galaxy from dbrand using their online skin builder. This setup lets you see what each texture looks like on your handset in real time, so you can decide if black camo or red dragon is a better look for your Galaxy.
- Shop from trusted apps
No site is off limits when you’re browsing from your Galaxy. You can switch from news articles sharing the latest deals to your online bank account to your Insta feed to your shopping cart with a swipe of your finger. But just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
Banks and online retailers have created specific apps, so you can avoid navigating these accounts from a typical browser window. These apps are designed for the mobile experience, so it’s easier to use. They also come with better security, as mobile banks and e-commerce apps add an extra layer of protection for purchases made in-app.
You just have to be careful you’re downloading the official app from the retailer you want. Before you download anything, triple-check the name, source, and reviews of the app. This can help prevent downloading malware onto your Galaxy.
- Enable multi-factor authentication
A unique password for each profile is a step in the right direction. Multi-factor authentication, on the other hand, is more secure by leaps and bounds. True to its name, it involves additional security measures or factors to reinforce a simple password.
2FA involves the following two steps or factors:
- A password: There’s nothing special here. This is simply the password you make for your profile.
- A token: A token is usually a time-sensitive passcode sent to the phone number or email address on file for the profile. You have to supply this token in addition to your password to access the count.
With a phone like the latest Galaxies, you’re afforded an additional step of security that includes biometric data. Your Galaxy phone has a face scanner that enables MFA security. To access your account, you’ll have to supply a password, a token, and your biometric data.
This last step is the most effective security measure of all. While a thief could steal your phone and figure out your password, they wouldn’t be able to fool the Galaxy’s face scanner easily.
Though simple, these tips strengthen the security protecting your financial data, so you can shop on your phone with confidence. With Cyber Monday on its way, this guide comes at the perfect time to help protect your holiday mobile shopping. But this guide has no expiry date. You can use these tips to protect your mobile shopping all year round.