‘Tis the season to be jolly … unless you fa la la la fall victim to cybercrime. According to a recent McAfee survey, close to one in five consumers shop online daily, with one in three shopping online between three to five days a week (since COVID-19 initially began). And, with the holiday season in full swing, combined with rising coronavirus numbers and more people working and more students going to school at home, Americans’ online activity continues to increase — as does cybercrime. How then, can families enjoy the holiday festivities and spirit, without worrying about the risk of cyber threats and data breaches at home?

In addition to revealing an uptick in online spending, McAfee also reported 419 cyber threats per minute in Q2 2020—an approximate 12% increase since the previous quarter. And, only a few years ago a staggering 64% of Americans personally experienced a major data breach.

Cybercrime can come in the form of compromised sensitive information, hacked emails and social media accounts, identity theft, fraudulent credit/bank card charges and more. To help reduce homes from falling victim to cyber threats this holiday season, companies like Cox Communications provide their customers with a host of protective measures. These can range from services such as Cox Security Suite Plus and Panoramic Wifi app to Cox Complete Care that protect home-connected devices from varying cyber threats—malicious websites, malware, viruses and more.

There are additional protections you can put in place to secure your network this holiday season (and every season), which include:

• Creating a strong password

Although generating complex and different passwords can feel cumbersome, the effort is well worth it for protect yourself from data breaches at home. Each time to make a new password, use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters—the longer and more complicated, the better.

• Disabling remote administration

Many newer modems automatically turn on “remote administration.” This capability enables access to your internet—even when you and your family members aren’t home. And, while you and your family are able to use your internet remotely, anyone else can too—including hackers. Whenever possible, it’s best to disable this feature.

• Give your WiFi a different name

Rather than simply keeping the service set identifier (SSID) set up by your WiFi provider, it’s best to select a new network name. This is because many provider-created network names come with an ISP-assigned password, which left unchanged, increases cybercriminals’ chance of infiltrating your network.

In addition to altering the name of your wifi, follow the guidelines above when it comes to making a password for your network (make it as complex as possible, not revealing any insights about your personal information—pet’s names, the street you live on, etc.)

• Update your modem

An outdated modem equals an invitation to cybercriminals. While some providers like Cox, will upgrade your modem free of charge, it’s always best to make sure your modem and router firmware is as up-to-date as possible to deter a cyber breach.

As an added caution, be extremely weary when providing personal information to websites. Make sure that the web pages you visit begin with “https,” which means the site is encrypted. Sites that don’t have the “s” (http) are not protected. And, websites with a private policy, contact information, and a “trust seal,” typically indicate that they are safe.