Post Sponsored by McAfee. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
There is no doubt that Christmas is a time for traditions. I love seeing my kids take part in the same festive activities that I did when I was a child, they still write their letters to Santa, leave out a mince pie and a carrot on Christmas Eve and visit the Nativity Scene in our local Memorial Gardens. But, over the years some things have definitely changed and now new “traditions” are being introduced in our modern world. Some of these are for the better and some are not. Swapping some Christmas traditions for digital alternatives could even put families at risk of cybercrime this Christmastime. Read on for tips on how you can stay cybersafe this Christmas:
How Christmas is Changing
McAfee conducted a survey to find out how Christmas is changing. Here are some of the changes they found:
Brits are swapping Christmas calls (down 21% over the past 10 years) and cards (down 13% from 2009) for WhatsApp well wishes (up 44% from 2009)
As we see all of our closest family on Christmas Day and during the Christmas period, I rarely make phone calls on Christmas Day. I can see how the tradition of swapping Christmas Cards is down. We always make a donation to a charity instead of writing and sending lots of cards. I do miss this tradition but it used to be so much work writing out and delivering hundreds of cards. The kids still send them to friends in school (how exciting is it to post school cards in the special Christmas postbox?) but I can see this tradition ending soon too as we all strive to help save the planet.
Personally, I won’t be “WhatsApp ing” on Christmas day but I know my older children will be so I’ll need to remind them about phishing. SMS phishing has been named the third most common scam of the year, as 26% have fallen victim or know someone who has. For the 75% of Brits planning to send well-wishes via text and WhatsApp this year, it’s important to remain onguard and avoid clicking on links in messages, especially if they’re from an unknown sender.
Caroling (down 18%) has been bumped for streaming festive songs (up 33%)
I’m quite glad the tradition of door to door caroling seems to have ended. I think that cold calling tradition could potentially have been risky to older people. However, I still love to see carol singers outside the shops and at concerts over the Christmas period. I know it’s really Christmas when I attend my first Carol Service and when we sing carols around the Christmas Tree. We also love listening to Christmas songs in the car and love corny Christmas Radio channels. I used to love listening to Christmas carols at home and in the car with my family too, the only difference is now we’ll be streaming our festive songs instead of playing them on tape or CD so we can listen to our favourites. Unfortunately, streaming also represents a substantial cybersecurity threat. In the last year alone, more than a third (39%) of Brits said they or someone they know has fallen victim to scams associated with streaming or downloading music, films and TV. This was the highest rising Christmas tradition for Brits over the past 10 years, with 59% planning to stream festive films and TV, and 48% planning to steam music, representing a 74% and 33% increase respectively.
Our Christmas habits become increasingly digital
As our Christmas habits become more digital new windows of opportunities open for cybercriminals looking to cash in on insecure devices and connections. Shopping for presents online has also become significantly more popular over the past 10 years, with 81% of Brits planning to buy gifts online (representing a 56% increase from 2009). I do like to buy some presents online. Living in a small town we don’t have many “big shops” and it can be hard to get the kids big presents in our local shops.
I do love shopping at our local independent shops, especially during late night shopping evenings, there’s always a lovely atmosphere and the shops sell lovely selections of gifts. Like, 88% of Brits we also still like to head to the supermarket for the big Christmas shop. Apparently Brits are now 14% more likely to purchase vegan or vegetarian options this year, compared with 10 years ago. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 11 and vegan for at least the last four years and have seen a big increase in the number of my friends turning vegan too.
71% of those who were scammed lost more than £500 after experiencing a scam
I was shocked to read that 71% of Brits who were scammed lost more than £500. That’s a huge amount of money to lose, especially at this time of year when money is already tight. So what can we do to keep ourselves safe online this Christmastime?
Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and Fellow at McAfee, says: “Just like your family, cybercriminals have longstanding Christmas traditions. However, they are constantly looking for ways to take advantage of online behavior, which takes them to newer platforms such as music and film streaming sites.
“While most believe that cyber-scams become more prevalent during the festive season, a third of Brits don’t actually take any steps to change their online behavior or protect themselves. It is crucial that people are mindful of potential risks and take the proper precautions to protect themselves to avoid falling victim this Christmastime.”
Tips to stay safe this holiday season:
Never reuse passwords
With just one hack, cybercriminals can get their hands-on thousands of passwords, which they can then use to try to access multiple accounts.
Stop and pause
Instead of clicking on a link in an email, it is always best to check directly with the source to verify an offer or shipment.
Browse with security protection
Use comprehensive security protection, like McAfee Total Protection, which can help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks and other threats. It includes McAfee Total Protection, which can help identify malicious websites. When buying new digital gifts for your family this Christmas remember to install protection immediately so your family can enjoy their gifts safely.
Use a tool to help protect your personal information
A solution like McAfee Identity Theft Protection takes a proactive approach to help protect identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep identities personal and secure.
It’s clear that our Christmas traditions are changing and becoming increasingly digital. With planning and thought we can keep ourselves and family protected from cybercrime.
How have your Christmas traditions changed over time? How do you keep your family cybersafe at Christmas?