One of the most popular trends that the internet offers is sitting at home and browsing items for purchase. Whether you are purchasing clothes, foods, or anything else, shopping has been made ultimately easier for consumers around the world. Add to that the fact that you now receive your purchased goods within a day and in cases of Amazon orders you can even receive your order within a few hours through the Amazon drone system.
But like there’s two sides to every coin, there’s also a negative side to online shopping, and that is your online security. The following tips will help the viewer understand how to shop online safely as well as how to best utilize cyber security solutions for safe online shopping.
Use well-known sites
Often times there are numerous sites offering the same product at different prices, and while price makes a difference, it is often not worth trying out a suspicious website just because of a good deal. Popular sites like Amazon or retailer websites will almost always be secure, at least on their end, while it is still up to the user to be secure on their end.
One of the first mistakes any consumer may make on the internet is having limited information about the destination they are visiting. With the increase of cyber threats and the ability of perpetrators to mock any website as legitimate increases risks of your information falling into the wrong hands. By informing yourself about the site and its peer reviews can be your first step to shopping online safely.
A simple yet effective way to determine the security of your information is to check if the website supports safe payments as well as encrypted SSL connections. This can easily be viewed at the IP you’re visiting while a SSL secure connection always uses HTTPS instead of HTTP, as well as the browser is able to inform you by placing a Locked Icon next to the IP or elsewhere on the browser.
Update your PC
Online security risks aren’t always derived directly from your surfing of the internet. Instead, many cases exist where the reason your system is hacked or your information stolen is because your system has been compromised. It won’t matter how secure the site you’re shopping at is while every information first goes through your PC and then online, and if your system is vulnerable then a virus will most likely make way for keyloggers, Trojans, and data theft scripts. By keeping your software and OS updated, you decrease the chances of theft.
Use strong passwords
A simple and efficient tool is to simply use a complex password that is familiar to you while never keeping the same password for different accounts. If you are using Gmail and Chrome then I recommend you to download Google’s Password Alert that helps protect your e-mail password by notifying when the same password is used elsewhere. In this way you can also use your Gmail account as your master password through which you can recover most of your online accounts if necessary.
Using a VPN enables a stable and fortified network directly from your PC to the destination you want to visit while no one else can view your connecting except you. If you are a constant internet user then being subscribed to a VPN service is not a bad idea as it helps in your anonymity as well as redirecting threats away from your original IP. Everything you view is securely locked away without the risk of having your log files compromised by any hack.
Use anti-malware and anti-virus
While most users realize this is a very logical step for any kind of protection, users often tend to leave this security tool behind. Simply use an anti-malware or anti-virus to mitigate any attack as well as remove ones that are already on your PC. Don’t forget to update your anti-virus!
Use safe internet connections
Similar to VPN, a big tip on how to shop safely is to never use unsecure networks such as a public access point at the mall, at a random store, or even at an unfamiliar network as it may be placed there purposely for hacking purposes. Combining a secure network with VPN use will greatly increase your security.
Check bank statements
All in all, if it comes to the worst scenario that your information is really stolen and might be used in money theft, checking your bank statements is a good last option. At times your information will be used discretely and checking your statements is a good way to ensure that your money affairs are in order.
There is no reason not to shop online after all of the good things that the internet offers and the efficiency of it. Even though cybercrimes happen all the time, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be affected, but the least you can do is mitigate these threats and further avoid other kinds of vulnerabilities.