Stay safe online this holiday season

How to avoid becoming a cybercriminal's Christmas gift

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day… the sales are everywhere, even in our Inboxes. It should come as no surprise to note that this is also an opportune season for cybercriminals to take advantage of our distracted state of mind, and our desperation to find those perfect gifts. Don't let holiday merrymaking cloud your judgement -- just as you watch for pickpockets in crowded areas, pay special attention to the barrage of emails and online ads that may tempt you.

Before you click on any links, make sure they come from a trusted source. If you're not sure, go directly to the website of the store/ bank/ service provider and look for the information on their site -- and only shop at reputable online stores.

If you suspect that an email you receive may be fraudulent, you can report it to McGill IT Services by attaching to an email and sending to phishing [at]

Other tips to make your holiday season cyber-safe:

online shopping
Image by online shopping.
Online shopping

  • Read reviews before making online purchases to find out about other peoples' experiences with the vendor.
  • Look for "https:" in the address when shopping online; it means transmission of payment information is secure.

Image by WiFi.
On the go with your mobile

  • Password-protect your mobile devices and don't share your passwords with anyone.
  • Limit the type of business you conduct over open public WiFi connections, including logging in to key accounts like email and banking.
  • When shopping in stores and malls, disable your WiFi and Bluetooth when you're not using them; some stores may use location trackers to track your movements.
  • Adjust security settings to limit who can access your phone.

social media
Image by social media.
Using social media

  • Review privacy settings on your social media accounts.
  • Don't upload photos you would not want to be distributed ... who knows where.


McGill IT Services wishes you a very happy and safe holiday season! Visit "StaySafeOnline" for security tips all year long.

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