The famous Dr. Seuss published How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957. The children’s story, written in rhymed verse chronicles how a solitary creature tries to steal Christmas by pilfering holiday items from the residents of Whoville. About a decade later, in1966, when the book was turned into a children’s holiday TV special, the song “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” debuted. Since then, both the show and the song have become holiday staples.

The Grinch is, of course, a fictional character hiding in the shadows wreaking havoc on the town of Whoville. There are a lot of “mean ones” like the Grinch, hiding in the shadows of the dark web and sometimes making their way onto your network or even onto your PC or other devices, whom you want to avoid. Here are some tips to help you and your staff lower their risk of a visit from a computer Grinch, especially during the holiday shopping season:

Handle with Care

Protect your passwords with more care than the way you would wrap an expensive heirloom gift you ship out to Aunt Edna on the west coast! We suggest at least 12 and a mix of characters. Avoid names, places and dictionary words.

Better Watch Out

Use only secure websites and official apps for any web browsing or shopping. Look for “https” in the URL to ensure site security. The “https” means the site is secured using an SSL certificate. To get the certificate, the company/site must go through a validation process.

Make a List

Put in place an Acceptable Use Policy for your organization of the types of sites that are okay to visit with company devices versus what is not. Clearly spell out inappropriate use and designate a manager who has responsibility for updating and enforcing the policy.

Check It Twice

Don’t just “click, click, click” like St. Nick on the housetop, check every link and every website— twice—before doing any business or sharing any personal or financial information. Check the spelling on the link by hovering over it; understand where the link came from; and never click on anything that communicates urgency for doing so as that is surely a scam.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Avoid public Wi-Fi for any shopping. Shop at home where it is warm and you know your wireless network is secure.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Consider implementing two-factor authentication when logging in to your network remotely or into sensitive sites. Then, even if malicious individuals have your credentials, they will not be able to log in.

Deck the Halls

Just like your home needs a little updating for the holidays, be sure you update your operating system as well as apps and browsers that you use. The latest versions are always the recommended way to avoid holiday mishaps.

Three French Hens

When shopping with the crowds, turn off the three French hens (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Location Services) on your phone to provide for greater security. Disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and location services so the bad guys cannot find you. Don’t worry, Santa can still find you without any of those services turned on.

These holiday hints will ensure that no Grinch steals your holiday. “Fah who foraze, Dah who doraze” everyone!

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First published in our December 2018 IT Radix Resource newsletter