12 Security Tips for Cyber Monday

By Aby David Weinberg
image November 24, 2023 image 6 MIN READ

It’s that whimsical time of year when the world transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors. Have you noticed the sudden invasion of outrageously tacky sweaters, as if a rogue knitting club took over the fashion world? Is your email inbox bursting at the seams, stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with an endless parade of “Buy Now!” coupons? And let’s not forget every shopfront competing in an unspoken “Who Can Be the Most Extra” holiday decoration contest. Yes, folks, welcome to the merry madness of the holiday shopping season!

For online sellers and shoppers, Cyber Monday 2023 is a vital kickstart to eCommerce’s busiest time of the year. On November 27 (the Monday following the US Thanksgiving holiday), millions of people will be entering their payment information online as retailers offer special Cyber Monday promotions and discounts to capitalize on the surge in web traffic. 

In 2022, Cyber Monday sales grew 5.8% over the previous year, rising to $11.3 billion and continuing a growth trend for the shopping holiday. But this mass of traffic and transactions has a dark side—lurking cyber criminals perpetrating online scams.

With the collision of a rising tide of cyber attacks and a target-rich online shopping holiday, cybersecurity will be a high priority for shoppers and eCommerce businesses. To take the worry out of Cyber Monday 2023, here are twelve security tips to help protect yourself and your organization.

Why Cybersecurity Is So Important on Cyber Monday

Cybersecurity is crucial on Cyber Monday (and any time you shop or sell online) for several reasons:

Being vigilant about cybersecurity on Cyber Monday—and every day—helps ensure that the convenience of online shopping doesn’t come at the cost of compromising safety and privacy. Detecting eCommerce fraud and preventing it begins with knowing what to look for.

Why Cybersecurity Is So Important on Cyber Monday


6 Key Threats on Cyber Monday 2023

Cyber Monday presents a unique opportunity for cyber criminals to exploit the increased online activity by turning shoppers and sellers into prime targets for cyberattacks. With online shopping being a top source of consumer fraud, it’s essential to be aware of these six key cyber threats for Cyber Monday 2023:

1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing emails and websites, and smishing attacks via SMS text messages, are designed to trick you into clicking on malicious links or revealing personal information. Cybercriminals often use Cyber Monday deals as bait to lure unsuspecting victims.

2. Spoofed Websites

Fake websites that look like legitimate eCommerce websites also trick users into revealing personal information or clicking on malicious links. These spoofed websites are often used to steal financial information, login credentials, and other valuable data.

3. Malware Injections

Hackers can inject malware into actual or spoofed websites, making them dangerous to visit. This malware can steal your personal information or install ransomware on your device.

4. Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks, a rising threat during 2022’s holiday shopping season, continue to plague eCommerce businesses this year. This malware encrypts your files and demands payment for the decryption key.

5. Credit Card Stealers

Magecart attacks are cyber threats that target the collection of credit card information from compromised websites. These attacks, also known as credit card stealers or card skimmers, can harvest data from checkout pages and payment forms in real-time before the user’s transaction is completed.

6. Supply Chain Attacks

Cybercriminals target third-party vendors that supply goods or services to retailers. This can allow them to compromise the retailer’s systems and steal customer data. It can also result in realtors being out of stock on needed products, damaging their marketplace standing and customer trust.

Organizations and shoppers face steep costs in the aftermath of cyberattacks, which makes it critical to exercise heightened vigilance for these threats during peak retail times like Cyber Monday.

6 Key Threats on Cyber Monday 2023

12 Security Tips for Cyber Monday

To ensure a safe and profitable shopping day for all, here are twelve Cyber Monday cybersecurity tips for shoppers and businesses:

For Shoppers:

1. Shop from Reputable Retailers

Only shop from retailers that you know and trust. Avoid clicking on any links in emails or websites, and only shop from retailers with a secure website. Look at the address bar for the “https” in the URL and a padlock icon. If you notice unusual text in the URL or on the website (such as misspellings), you may be on a spoofed website, so exit and shop elsewhere.

2. Create Strong Passwords and Enable 2FA

Use strong, unique passwords for all of your online shopping and financial accounts. Avoid using common words or personal information, and instead use a combination of symbols, numbers, and upper and lowercase letters. Activate two-factor authentication (2FA) for your accounts and payment cards to prevent unauthorized access.

3. Update Your Software and Device Protection 

Make sure that your operating system, web browser, and other devices and software are up-to-date with the latest security patches. Use browser protection, a firewall, and an antivirus program to keep your data safe.

12 Security Tips for Cyber Monday

4. Be Suspicious of Unsolicited Offers

If you receive an unsolicited offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cybercriminals often use these offers to lure unsuspecting victims into phishing scams or malware attacks. Don’t click on links in emails or SMS messages, especially if you don’t recognize the sender. Also, don’t open attachments in an unsolicited email, as they may contain malware.

5. Beware of Public Wi-Fi

Avoid using public Wi-Fi to make online purchases or enter sensitive information. Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured and can be easily compromised by cybercriminals. If you need public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your device’s internet traffic.

6. Use a Secure Payment Method

When making online purchases, use a secure payment method. Options include a credit card with fraud protection and/or virtual credit card numbers, or a PayPal account. Avoid using debit cards or prepaid cards, as they offer less protection in case of fraud.

For Businesses:

7. Educate Your Employees

Train your staff to identify and avoid phishing scams and other cyber threats. Make sure they know how to identify suspicious emails and websites, and how to report them to the appropriate authorities. Consider company-wide employee cybersecurity awareness training from CybeReady as a solution that offers engaging, effective training with proven results.

8. Implement Strong Security Measures

Implement strong security measures to protect your systems and data. This includes using firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and data encryption. Your cybersecurity solutions should help you manage attack surfaces, detect threats, and prevent data loss. A robust cloud hosting solution that provides strong security and can handle the extra Cyber Monday traffic is also recommended.

9. Update Your Software Regularly

Update your systems and software to the most recent versions and security patches. These patches often fix vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Do the same with any of your cybersecurity solutions so that their libraries are updated to recognize the latest threats.

Wrap Up Your Cyber Monday Security

10. Backup Your Data

Regularly backup your data to an offsite location. This will protect your data in case of a ransomware attack or other data loss event.

11. Have a Response Plan

Have a response plan in place in case of a cyberattack. This plan should outline the steps you will take to contain the attack, recover your systems, and notify your customers.

12. Monitor Your Systems

Monitor your systems for any suspicious activity. This will help you to identify and respond to cyberattacks as early as possible. Stay vigilant and follow established security best practices.

Wrap Up Your Cyber Monday Security

Cyber Monday brings in the holiday shopping season for all sides of eCommerce. It’s a significant opportunity to purchase deals and make sales. But if you’re not taking care of your cybersecurity, it becomes an opportunity for cybercriminals to get the best of you. By following these twelve tips, you’ll start the holiday shopping season off right.

While having the latest cybersecurity solutions in your tech stack is a great way to keep your business safe, it’s critical to remember that your employees are the first line of defense against cyber threats. Creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness with training from CybeReady helps fortify your perimeter while greatly reducing incidents caused by human error. 

Try a demo of CybeReady’s training program to see how we can bolster your organization’s cybersecurity quickly and effectively—so you can really enjoy the holidays.