The Grinch Is Trying To Hack Your Christmas. Here's How To Stop It.

Hackers love Christmas. It’s the one time of the year guaranteed to draw inexperienced shoppers online, like flies into their dark web.

Right now, millions of Australians are starting to fix their thoughts on Christmas shopping, with more consumers than ever expected to source their gifts online.

However, while we’re ticking off Nanna and Uncle John from our Christmas shopping list, hackers are honing their skills as they launch cyber assaults trying to snare as much sensitive personal data as possible.

And now online stores like Amazon are providing hackers with a virtual ‘one-stop-shop’ for potential targets who dump critical private information in one place as they shop.

In 2017, as many as one in four Australians were targeted by hackers and it’s estimated that 86 percent of identity fraud cases in Australia were enabled using the Internet.

The not-so Christmas spirit: during the holidays, hackers ramp up their efforts to steal your personal data. (Image: Getty)

However, there are a few simple things Aussie online shoppers can do to make themselves a less attractive target for Hackers.

Beware of ‘phishing’ scams

It’s usually around Christmas that hackers and cyber-criminals try to trick people into handing over their passwords and personal information with emails purporting to be from your bank, internet provider, iTunes etc. Or they may claim to come from a major retailer claiming you’ve won a prize.

The rule of thumb is, ‘if in doubt, there is no doubt’.

Don’t open any emails or click on any links you’re unsure about. If you think it could be legitimate and important, call the organisation to confirm.

Once you click on a link and provide any personal details, you’re done.

'If in doubt, there is no doubt.' Don't fall victim to Christmas phishing scams. (Image: Getty)
Prohibit or limit international purchases as default

The vast majority of hackers attempting to steal your online details are based overseas. Should a cyber-criminal operating offshore obtain your credit card details, having your international purchase facility disabled or set at a low level will prevent the hacker from using your details and alert your bank if a transaction is attempted.

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Avoid public Wi-Fi

Hackers love to sit quietly in a public place, like a café or bar and hack into the unprotected free Wi-Fi. Using very basic ‘sniffer’ tools, they then have access to anyone logged onto the same Wi-Fi – images, saved passwords, personal data, the lot. Avoid using free public Wi-Fi where possible.

Avoid using public wi-fi networks if possible. (Image: Getty)
Change passwords often

It’s important to use strong passwords that contain alphanumeric characters like %,$,#,@, rather than birthdays, anniversaries, names of children or anything that could be easily guessed. Make sure you have security protection software and update your password every three to six months.

READ MORE: It's Way Too Easy For Hackers To Watch Your Kids Online At School

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Update anti-virus software

Yes, we all know how annoying it is, when every time you turn on your computer, there’s another update to download for one program or another. However, considering the rate at which hackers develop new malicious software, it’s important that your anti-virus/anti-hacking software is up-to-date.

Make sure you update your anti-virus software and frequently change your passwords. (Image: Getty)

Following these simple guidelines will help ensure you have a happy and hacker-free holiday.