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You Better Watch Out Online

As we begin the holiday shopping season, it’s critical to remember: Every piece of information you release or store online makes you vulnerable to cybercriminals. The good news? Although we’re all vulnerable, no one is defenseless against the threat of online fraud and theft. Here are some important steps you can take to thwart virtual Christmas-time evildoers.

There’s Something About Public Hotspots

For users without cellular data or whose devices lack data capability, free public Wi-Fi is extremely convenient. It’s also completely unsecure. Virtual criminals can log on and intercept sensitive information sent over a public network. If you use a communal hotspot, avoid visiting websites that require passwords or sharing of sensitive information.

A Hacker’s Holiday: Duplicated Passwords

Passwords can be difficult to remember, especially if you use a unique password for every site, as is recommended. However, if a holiday hacker gains access to a password at one site that you’ve used at multiple others, it’s highly possible you’ll have a blue Christmas. Utilizing a secure password management program can help protect your digital fingerprints from unauthorized use.

They See What You Are Posting

Cybercriminals pursue every fragment of exploitable information. Sharing too much information on social media can attract the attention of opportunistic hackers. Before posting, ask yourself: Could cybercriminals use this information to exploit me? Is it worth the risk?

Fa, La, La, La, La…Lock Them Down

Social media sites like Facebook, which see heightened activity during the holidays, allow you to control who can see and reply to your posts. Finding these settings can be tricky but it’s worth the time to make your accounts only partially public or completely private. Doing so cuts off a rich data source for cybercriminals.

Deck Your Browser with Add Blockers

Ad blocker extensions prevent advertising from loading onto a webpage. These ads can include malicious code that could load malware onto your devices.

Spare Yourself a Shopping Season Card Breach

Saving card numbers at sites where one frequently shops is convenient. However, if the site gets hacked, your card information could become a casualty of your retailer’s breach. For similar reasons, you shouldn’t save passwords on devices, either.

Be Careful What You Click

If you receive an email from an unknown source this holiday season (or any other time), do not click any links or attachments without finding out if it is legitimate. You should also watch out for suspicious-sounding emails from trusted sources. Hackers sometimes hijack legitimate accounts to send malicious links and attachments to the victim’s contacts. If an email comes from a trusted source but doesn’t sound like something that person (or organization) would send, click nothing, delete and contact the victim.

Don’t Let Bluetooth Turn Your Holidays Blue

Cybercriminals with the right equipment can pair their own device to your unused Bluetooth radio signal, thereby breaching your device and stealing sensitive data. Turn Bluetooth off when not in use.

GVEC: The Difference is Local

With GVEC internet, you’ll get not only competitive pricing and service, but also the confidence of knowing your ISP is rooted in the community. That not only means we’re agile and responsive, but also deeply invested in your privacy, satisfaction and security. Plus, we’re rapidly expanding availability of GVEC Fiber Internet—the world’s fastest internet technology. To learn more about the GVEC difference, call 800.699.4832 or visit

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