Tips: Safe Online Holiday Shopping From The Office

A new national survey from ISACA shows employees plan to spend the equivalent of nearly two full work days shopping for the holidays using work computers, creating personal and business security risks.

“Online shopping can open the door to viruses, spam and phishing attacks that invade the workplace and cost enterprises thousands per employee in lost productivity and potentially millions in destruction or compromise of corporate data,” said John Pironti, a member of ISACA’s Certification Task Force and chief information risk strategist at Archer Technologies.

Tips for companies include:

1. Educate employees. Blocking sites can do more harm than good, causing employees to seek out less secure ways to get around your blockade.

2. Get employees on board with learning by teaching them how to protect their work and home computers.

3. Reinforce what you teach by having employees sign an acceptable-use policy every year.

4. Offer a “safe zone” for holiday shopping -- create a virtual sandbox that can be taken down after the holidays.

5. Don’t wait until Cyber Monday to step up security. Many employees begin shopping much earlier.

Tips for online shoppers include:

1. Use your desktop PC, not your mobile device, because your desktop browser is likely to be more secure.

2. Protect sensitive information by password-protecting both your mobile device and its memory card.

3. Update your anti-virus and anti-malware programs continually.

4. Treat social networking sites with the same caution as other Web sites -- they are a growing target for fraudsters and virus writers.

5. Be cautious of special offers from unfamiliar sites. Fake online offers and coupons may lead to harmful sites, so be suspicious.

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