Don't wait until you appear on a map of cybercrime, like this one by antivirus software maker Symantec. If you're among the millions of consumers who Adobe Analytics predicts will spent a record-breaking $143 billion during the 2019 holiday shopping season, you need to arm yourself with the knowledge to sniff out cyber-schemes before you become a victim.
This Facebook gift exchange could leave you empty-handed
If someone on Facebook tags you to join a "Secret Sister" gift exchange this holiday season, beware -- it might be little more than a pyramid scheme dressed up for the holidays. The idea is that you send one $10 gift to the person above you on the list (who may or may not be someone you actually know), then add your name beneath theirs and forward the list to 36 more people (who are supposed to each send one $10 to you).
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office published a blog post in November warning residents to avoid public USB charging stations if you are traveling this winter, fearing that criminals could install malware to hack into connected devices. Although such an attack is theoretically possible, the urban myth-busting website Snopes.com points out in a recent post that the likelihood of getting juice-jacked is actually incredibly slim.
Published:Caption:Dale SmithPhoto:Screenshot by Dale Smith/CNET
Looking for a security-focused stocking-stuffer? One way to thwart online criminals is to lock down your online accounts by requiring a physical security key -- like this Google Titan Bluetooth dongle -- to access your information. Google's Advanced Protection Program uses either the Titan or a similar key to strengthen security on Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs and other Google services. You can also use hardware keys to lock down your Microsoft Windows laptop or desktop, iPhone or Android phone.