As the holiday season approaches, the Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) joins forces with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS) to caution citizens about the escalating risks of cyber threats during festive online activities.
While it may be the most wonderful time of the year, a single cyber-attack on your bank account or credit card could quickly turn festivities into financial chaos, warned Sanjay Gupta, Acting Secretary and State CIO of the Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology. Encouraging citizens to fortify their digital defenses by Black Friday on November 24, Gupta emphasized the importance of smart digital practices to protect financial well-being.
IEMA-OHS Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau underscored the need for proactive measures, stating, "A few simple steps now can save so much frustration later." She advised consumers to exercise caution regarding texts, ads, and emails offering enticing purchases, recommending that individuals visit the company's official website, check reviews, and verify its physical location and customer service information.
Key recommendations from the state departments include avoiding fake websites. Double-check URLs and look for 'https://' and a padlock symbol. Stick with trusted retailers and be wary of unsolicited emails. Phishing email awareness, exercise caution with phishing emails. Avoid suspicious links and verify senders. Creating strong passwords, use unique passwords with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols for each retailer. Consider utilizing a password manager for added security.
Skepticism towards unrealistic deals, stay skeptical of deals that seem too good to be true. Stick to reputable retailers to avoid falling into digital traps. Wi-Fi Security: avoid public Wi-Fi networks. Use secure connections like home Wi-Fi or cellular data and consider using a VPN for added protection.
As citizens gear up for holiday shopping sprees and charitable contributions, the collaborative efforts of state agencies aim to empower them with the knowledge and tools needed to safeguard their financial transactions in the digital realm.