Tis the season to be jolly: Don’t let hackers ruin holidays | Article

Tis the season to be jolly: Don’t let hackers ruin holidays

Your best defense against online hacking is awareness. Stay informed and promptly take action when you notice something is not right. (Illustration by Linda Lambiotte, ASC Public Affairs)
(Photo Credit: Linda Lambiotte, ASC Public Affairs)


ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – While it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, the holiday season can turn into a hunting ground for hackers, scammers, and identity thieves, becoming THEIR favorite time of the year.

Why is that?

While many of us still prefer the traditional in-person shopping experience, many others have switched heavily to online purchases in the past few years, even more since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic early last year.

This has caused a significant increase in our population’s record of online activities, also referred to as digital footprint.

“When we make online purchases, we leave a trail of personal information such as our home address, date of birth, credit card information, spending habits, and even our personal preferences,” said Dr. Kathy Linderman, chief information officer for the U.S. Army Sustainment Command G6 (Information Management).

While online shopping is practical, fast, and often easier, we do tend to share a lot of sensitive information that could expose us to personal and financial risks.

“Some shopping websites will place ‘cookies’ on each visitor’s computer to track online activity and provide information to the cookie owner,” Linderman said. “All of this information is often used to target us with advertisements for other products or services we might like.”

However, such information…