NCSC offers shoppers advice ahead of Black Friday online sales rush

29 Nov 2019 12:36 PM

Advice has been issued by the NCSC to help shoppers ahead of Black Friday weekend.

A keyboard with an online shopping button

Online shoppers searching for a Black Friday bargain are being encouraged to follow a five-step wish list to stay safe while buying online today (Friday 29th December).

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – is promoting tips to help keep shoppers safe online, as criminals look to take advantage of the annual Black Friday rush to secure online bargains.

The advice comes as the NCSC’s own research found that 37% of people think that losing money or personal details over the internet is unavoidable.

Dr Ian Levy, Technical Director at the NCSC, yesterday said:

“The NCSC wants online shoppers to make the most of Black Friday bargains, and our top tips will make life much harder for would-be cyber criminals.

“We understand that some people find cyber security daunting, but a small amount of protection will go a long way to improving your safety.

“Sometimes, things can go wrong. We’re all human, and some of these scams are very sophisticated. If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, report the details to Action Fraud and contact your bank.”

The advice, which can be found in full on the NCSC’s website, includes:

Stay up to date: Cyber attacks are always evolving, and the best way to protect against the newest threats is by installing the latest software and app updates.

Use strong passwords: Be creative so criminals can’t guess them. A good way to create a strong and memorable password is to use three random words or numbers– such as bluetallrabbits or 15bulldog.

Use a password manager: Reusing the same password across different accounts can mean one breach compromises multiple accounts. Use a password manager to help you store your passwords securely and save yourself the trouble of remembering them.

Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA): 2FA means anybody wanting to access an account has to pass two checks, such as sending a security code to your mobile phone in addition to entering a username and password. This massively reduces the chance of being victim of a scam.

Don’t give away too much information: There’s some obvious details that an online store will need, such as your address and your bank details, but be cautious if they ask for details that are not required for your purchase. If you can avoid it, don’t create an account on a new site unless you’re going to use that site a lot in the future.

Whilst Black Friday traditionally sees customers take to the high street, it is also popular with shoppers searching for bargains online.

Black Friday is followed by Cyber Monday – this year Monday 2nd December – when the focus moves more to online sales.