‘Tis the season for proliferating payment options…and risk November 22, 2017 Cindy Provin More About This Author > It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is already upon us with both the biggest online and offline shopping events just around the corner. The one-two punch of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the highest volume shopping days of the year and finding the best deals can be a hobby in itself. In 2016, 108.5 million Americans shopped online over the long weekend. Almost 1 million visited physical stores. This year is expected to see similarly high numbers which is paralleled by increasing retailer anxiety about the state of their cybersecurity. In fact, according to our recent survey of retailers, 88% feel vulnerable to data threats. In addition, the increasing speed of technology innovation has lead to a broader diversity of payment methods in recent years with new platforms for mobile payments continuing to be deployed. That’s very exciting for both consumers and businesses. However, it also means there’s a veritable treasure trove of payment data with sensitive personal information being put at risk in a diversity of ways. Digital payment data is created, shared and stored in more places than ever before. Trust is key when it comes to consumers trusting retailers as well as businesses trusting that the security behind new digital payment methods matches the innovation. No one understands this better than Thales – we protect more than 80% of payment card transactions worldwide. For the consumer holiday shopper, there are a number of simple tips I’d recommend to help keep your data safe and secure. Make sure you’re using trusted websites when it comes to your online shopping – Web URLs that start with HTTPS denote a secure protocol. The “S” stands for secure and is the guarantee that all communications between the browser and the website are encrypted. Make sure all your devices are running up-to-date software – Whether apps you may use for payments, or in-app purchasing, or the operating systems, making sure that your desktop, laptop or mobile devices are fully updated is a simple but critical step. Enable multi-factor authentication – more and more online services and apps require multi-factor authentication. Typically, something you know (such as a password) and something you have (such as code that’s been texted to you.) It’s important to opt in whenever a service offers you the added security of multi-factor authentication. Make sure you’re not using unsecure public Wi-Fi – Public Wi-Fi is often not secure so any data being transmitted is under threat of being intercepted. Alternately, consider investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The future is extremely bright for digital payment technology with innovation happening in contactless payments, biometrics and with approaches such as increased use of QR codes. Thales is committed to being a trusted partner to enterprises and continuing to enable digital transformation by protecting digital payment and transaction data. To receive the latest data security research, resources and insight from our team please subscribe to our newsletter. Happy (and safe!) holiday shopping.