While it makes for bleak reading, the frenzy of sales and online shopping activity surrounding Black Friday, means this pre-holiday season is a key period for cybercriminals. And each year we see an increase in cyberattacks during what should be a feel-good time.

The picture is all-the-more worrying in 2022, as this Black Friday (25th November) falls on the same date as the USA vs England World Cup game – a hotly-anticipated day of betting for bookmakers.

With even more consumers therefore expected to be shopping online this year, the opportunity for fraudulent behaviour is rife. But that doesn’t mean we have to surrender to the risks of poor website security. Here, Georgina Grant Muller, marketing manager at RapidSpike, shares the second of her key tips to help website users stay safe this shopping season…

4 Payment methods
When it comes to paying, there are some payment options which will better protect you online. Here are our top recommendations:

Credit cards
Using a credit card to check out is a good option during the peak shopping period, because credit cards carry added protection compared to debit cards. If your credit card is compromised, your credit card company will attempt to retrieve fraudulent payments as it is their money at risk. Your personal funds are therefore not affected.

Virtual cards
Virtual cards provide unique details so you can shop online without using your card’s real details. You can set up a virtual card for individual online transactions, so if your details are compromised, hackers will be unable to use you’re the information to make further purchases.

There are some affordable options available for virtual cards, including Monzo’s, available with Monzo Plus and Monzo Premium subscriptions. With these, consumers can have up to five active virtual cards at any one time, and create up to 100 new virtual cards every 12 months. These upgrade options start from £5 a month and require a minimum three-month period. Getting started in time for Black Friday and the peak shopping period, could be a good idea.

Apple Pay/PayPal
If virtual and credit card options are not available, Apple Pay or PayPal are good options as some attacks are not complex enough to scrape details from these third-party providers. However, it should be noted that this is not a foolproof plan as third-party payment providers can themselves be compromised.

Leeds-headquartered RapidSpike is a renowned website monitoring platform, protecting the three key aspects of website health – performance, reliability and security.